“Of all the gin joints in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine.”
Julius J. Epstein (spoken by Humphrey Bogart)
Today I am drinking Hayman’s Royal Dock Gin. Spring is in the air and it’s time to bring out your favorite warm weather cocktails. Not that it’s warm in Seattle in April. In fact, I think the saying here goes, “April showers bring May showers…” Even so, we have to start sometime. If we waited to drink in the warmth from the sun around here, we may all die of thirst.
Hayman’s Royal Dock Gin is a traditional style, navy strength, London Dry Gin. Established in 1863, Hayman’s is part of the illustrious Haus Alpenz family of imports. The Royal Dock is bottled at British Navy Strength, 100 proof by weight equating to 57% alcohol by volume.
Every style of Hayman’s is produced in a grand 450 liter Cristian Carl still, which the family has affectionately named Marjorie after the family matriarch. To start each small batch, an age-old blend of ten botanicals is weighed out and loaded into the still, along with neutral spirits (~96.5% abv), and left to steep for 24 hours. Once the alcohol has absorbed the flavors and aromatics of the botanicals, the batch is ready for distillation. During distillation, every flavor compound extracted from these botanicals comes off the still at a different time and temperature, thus the distillation requires keen observation by the master distiller. Once the distillation is complete fresh water is added to bring the distillate down to a generous 57% alcohol.
The recipe consists of ten botanicals: Juniper, coriander, lemon peel, orange peel, angelica root, cinnamon, cassia bark, orris root, licorice, and nutmeg. Though some of these flavors may not immediately remind you of gin, they come together to create a world-class flavor profile.
Hayman’s will do well in any classic gin cocktail. Today, I’m enjoying an all-time favorite; the gin and tonic. Preparing a gin and tonic couldn’t be simpler. Fill your tumbler or Collins glass with ice, squeeze fresh lime over the ice, add One Part Gin & Two Parts Tonic, stir and enjoy.
I am working with a couple different brands of tonic to see which one best suits the Royal Dock. Nothing is wrong with the standard Canada Dry or Seagram’s Tonic Water. Though, the cocktail renaissance has created several craft tonics and true quinine mixers.
I started with Fever Tree Mediterranean Tonic. The relatively light flavors and body of the Fever Tree Tonic really allows the gin shine. That subtle quinine flavor brings out the dry juniper, minerality, and light floral notes. After hardly enough sips I’m moving on to the Fentiman’s Tonic Water. The Fentiman’s has a little more weight to it and a nice complex flavor profile. The moment it hit my tongue I was blown away by how different these two cocktails are. This time it’s the citrus in the Hayman’s Royal Dock that is brought to the forefront. The perfect mélange of the citrus trifecta dancing in the glass puts this cocktail on top, I’ll be stocking up on Fentamin’s for the coming seasons.
In conclusion, the Hayman’s Royal Dock Gin definitely belongs on the top shelf of any respectable bar or liquor cabinet. Whether you’re after a big martini, a gimlet, or any classic gin cocktail this spirit will not disappoint.
-The Daily Drinker