Enhance your gin and tonic experience with tips from the best in the business

In what has simultaneously been a whirlwind and uneventful year (especially travel-wise), anything that will lift our spirits is worth celebrating – even if it’s just a good old gin and tonic. 

The trio from Never Never Distilling Co. – aka the masterminds behind Australia’s award-winning Triple Juniper Gin – are on a mission to revolutionise the way we drink this classic cocktail.

The Never Never team proclaim the perfect G&T is built by using a gin with heavy juniper character and quality tonic water. The reason for this is that when mixed, quinine (the most important ingredient in tonic water) binds to the flavour molecules of juniper (the core botanical used to make gin), creating a taste sensation that is completely different from just gin or tonic on their own.

Never Never Distilling Co. founders: George Georgiadis, Sean Baxter and Tim Boast

So in this period where weekends have been spent mostly at home, and people are experimenting with new hobbies, Never Never launched the Gin For Your Tonic campaign. The campaign encourages you to test this theory by using their juniper-forward gin with a tonic of your choice to see how well it works, regardless of brand or garnish.

“It’s a campaign that aims to highlight Never Never’s focus on flavour and champions our award-winning Triple Juniper Gin in the process. We’re here to show that a quality gin should be able to work with a variety of different tonic and garnish combinations,” says Sean Baxter, brand director and co-founder.

However, for those that are playing bartender at home, Sean stressed the importance of measuring your pours. He also recommends using “small, chilled bottles of tonic water”. While it might feel more logical to buy a large one, “freshly opened tonic is always better” in his opinion.

If you’ve mastered the basic level of a G&T, the next step to expand your repertoire is by experimenting with garnish. Try to pick something in season and remember tonic water contains sugar so it’s a good idea to try citrus fruits and other acids that will help balance the drink. The Never Never team also suggest adding an aromatic element such as a herb. Flavours such as lemon thyme and rosemary contain chemical compounds which combine nicely with the flavours found in classic gin.

“We use lemon and lemon thyme in our Triple Juniper and Tonic and rosemary and pink grapefruit in our Juniper Freak and Tonic, both are great options,” says Sean. “Using a wine glass will also elevate the aromas coming out of the vessel, the same way it does for a shiraz or chardonnay.”

To take your drink to the next level with these gin cocktail recipes.

The McLaren Vale experience

With the news that South Australia has opened its borders to travellers from every Australian state except Victoria, why not indulge in the ultimate culinary experience at Chalk Hill Collective – a hospitality hub in McLaren Vale made up of Never Never’s distillery door, Chalk Hill Wines cellar door and Cucina di Strada, specialising in Italian street food. 

After being open for only five weeks before COVID-19 forced its doors closed, Never Never’s gin distillery is one of the new kids on the block and a noteworthy one at that. Now that doors are open and drinks are flowing, visitors are welcome to experience their gin and tonic flights, distillery tours, hands-on tastings and masterclasses.

“Our expansive lawns and outside cocktail bar create the perfect location to sip on a G&T or Negroni and watch an amazing McLaren Vale sunset,” says Sean.

The Chalk Hill Collective in McLaren Vale, South Australia

Top it off with wine tasting flights from Chalk Hill Wines and Cucina di Strada’s delectable pinsas (a traditional Roman style of pizza made with thick dough).

Bookings are essential and can be made at Never Never Distilling Co. and Chalk Hill Wines.

Keep reading: The top 10 bars and pubs in Adelaide Hills

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Images supplied by Never Never Distilling Co.

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