Never Never Distilling Co opened its permanent headquarters earlier this year in a picturesque hilltop “distillery door” in McLaren Vale. But the topnotch gin made its name long before.

Never Never was founded in 2017 from out the back of Royal Park’s Big Shed Brewing Concern. Just two years later, Never Never became the first Australian distiller to pick up the World’s Best Classic Gin Award at the prestigious World Gin Awards. And they recently produced a limited edition grenache gin to ease lockdown blues.

At the Never Never helm is distillery manager Stuart Morrow, who previously oversaw Sydney bar The Baxter Inn. As the weather finally warms, we asked Morrow to create a springtime cocktail. The result: Mojo Club Soda.

“Up here on the site, it’s all [about] looking at what’s local and what’s in season,” says Morrow, speaking from the McLaren Vale distillery. Using a base of fresh lemons, Morrow adds Mojo’s Activated Kombucha Strawberry Hibiscus, which is brewed just down the road at Mojo Kombucha’s headquarters in nearby Willunga. “Its fresh fruit and floral aromas are followed by a tartness on the palate with an intensely refreshing finish," says Morrow. Here he pairs it with the Never Never flagship tipple, Triple Juniper Gin at its centre. The result is a riff on the classic American cocktail Clover Club – a shaken drink with strawberries, lemon and sugar.

“The [kombucha] reduces the ABV while highlighting the other flavours in the drink,” he says.

The Triple Juniper Gin uses a three-step infusion process that includes soaking in vapours from a basket of juniper berries at the end of the process. “Each step strips different nuances from the juniper,” says Morrow. “So it builds a bigger overall flavour. When we came on the market, a lot of local gins were focusing on natives. But we saw the core ingredient – juniper – was taking a bit of a backseat. We wanted to hero it, so we came up with our triple juniper process.”

In Morrow’s newly-minted Mojo Club Soda, the kombucha pairs well with salted honey water, and vegan-friendly egg-white substitute Aquafaba (i.e. chickpea water), a bonding protein that creates a light foam on top. Morrow recommends a garnish of three strawberries, dusted with icing sugar.

Here’s how to make the Mojo Club Soda at home.

Mojo Club Soda
Makes 1 serve. Approx. 1.36 standard drinks.

Ingredients

40ml Triple Juniper Gin
30ml lemon juice
15ml salted honey water
15ml Aquafaba (liquid from 1 can of chickpeas and ¼ tsp cream of tartar)
Mojo Activated Kombucha Strawberry Hibiscus
3 strawberries, dusted with icing sugar
Ice

Method

To make salted honey water, combine 1 part sea salt to 20 parts hot water and stir to dissolve. Once salt is completely dissolved, add 2 parts honey to 1 part salted water and stir to dissolve.

To make aquafaba, mix the chickpea liquid and cream of tartar.

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker (except the kombucha and garnish), add ice and shake hard. Strain into a highball glass filled with ice. Top with kombucha and garnish with skewered strawberries.

This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Mojo Kombucha.