This review has not been influenced by anyone at Hayman's Gin, the views are our own, and we have not been paid for this post.
Dry January has never really meant anything to us in the Gin Bandits’ household. As you know we love to enjoy a G&T or two, and therefore substituting a real gin with this new craze of low or no alcohol spirits has never really appealed to us. In our minds, if we want a gin, then we want a real gin!
Well, that was before we finally got round to trying Hayman’s Small Gin. We had seen the miniature Hayman’s bottle featured a lot recently across social media and admittedly we were very intrigued to try it as we are huge fans of Hayman’s.
The first thing we wondered was how can this still be marketed as a gin? For a gin to be classified a gin in the UK it must be bottled at a minimum of 37.5% ABV. Hayman’s Small Gin is bottled at 43% ABV, but they have used four or five times the amount of botanicals ensuring the flavours are more concentrated. This then allows you to use less of the spirit without compromising the flavour or the quality of your G&T. Hayman’s suggest a 5cl serving of their Small Gin as being the equivalent of a standard 25cl measure. Each bottle contains 20cl gin which is enough to make 40 serves.
We were lucky enough to take part in a low alcohol cocktail masterclass with Hayman's at Bills in Covent Garden, accompanied by a vegan feast.
First up we had a Small Gin G&T; if you had put this side by side with a full serving of Hayman’s London Dry we think these too are very comparable. If we didn’t know we were drinking their Small Gin, we wouldn't have guessed. Up next, was a Petite French 75. Made the same way as a normal French 75, we substituted gin for a 5cl serving of Small Gin, and for the fizz we used Alcohol-free Nosecco. This worked really well together giving you the sense of celebration without the alcohol content; again if we didn't know the ingredients we would have assumed it was a standard French 75. Our third drink of the night was a big favourite around the room, the No-groni. For this, we used 2 thimble shots of Small Gin (10cl) and then the same measure of Lyres Non-Alcoholic Vermouth Rosso and Non-Alcoholic Italian Orange. This made a really tasty low alcohol Negroni. For our final drink, we made a Little Tom Collins. 5cl of Hayman's Small Gin, lemon juice, sugar syrup and Fever-tree's soda water. Over the course of the evening, we had 3 cocktails and 1 G&T using Hayman's Small Gin which made those 4 drinks the equivalent of 1 standard G&T.
Now, Hayman's are not marketing their Small Gin as being a non-alcoholic product as we originally thought. This is still a gin but with smaller serves and lower units per serve. They pride themselves on making true English gin and have stuck with that ethos with their Small Gin. We think this is a really clever offering from Hayman's as there is no comparison to other low or no alcohol spirits in the market and we highly recommend it.
We also wanted to send a special shout out to the guys at Bill's for creating an amazing vegan menu, the Carrot Wellington was to die for. If you're around in London and near a Bills, make sure you check out their Veganuary Menu (and this is a recommendation from a big meat eater!). If you had told anyone Mr Bandit would go out for an evening and drink low alcohol spirits and eat vegan food, no one would ever believe it.
Lastly, we’d like to say a big thank you to Miranda, Sam, the guys at Full Fat and all of the team at Hayman’s for hosting us - we had a fantastic evening and even better, no sore heads in the morning. But as always, Mr Bandit did his party trick and left his bag in the venue again, and this time he couldn't even blame it on the drink.