There is a glorious time during spring where the sweet spring snap peas make their way to the farmer’s market stands and with spring peas popping up on the stands, we make a point to buy a bunch to be used in all kinds of dishes. We love going to the first few farmer’s markets after they open, grabbing those spring peas and fresh young herbs that are on display in the stands to bring home and use in our meals. Spring peas are beautiful little green treasures, intensely sweet and unspoiled by the hot days of summer, tasty on their own right, but wonderful in food and in our case, a drink we called The Spring is Here!
When people typically think about snap peas, they don’t think about using snap peas in drinks as snap pea usually is thought of as a savory ingredient that goes in food. However the sweet herbal characteristics of the snap pea can blend itself perfectly into a drink that needs a little bit of that herbal green flavor. In spring, we love cocktails that can reflect the feeling of spring, the fading of the gray clouds of winter into fresh green and bright spring blooms, so we are always looking to come up with drinks that can scratch that itch!
On our last trip to the farmer’s market, we came home with a beautiful basket of spring snap peas and a bountiful bunch of young mint. We were thinking about cocktails we could make (one that popped up was our Snap Pea Gin and Tonic which was really delightful!) and we kept coming back to making a beautiful cocktail that would pair up the peas and mint. Pea and mint is a classic English dish that people have been making for centuries, so why not use that combination for a cocktail?
We had tried making cocktails where we muddled the green pea into the glass to extract that green flavor, but we weren’t happy with the “debris” that was left in the glass, plus the flavor wasn’t as bold as we were looking for. We had made a snap pea syrup for our Snap Pea Gin and Tonic, which we had made by bringing chopped snap peas up to a boil, then letting them steep until cool. This syrup technique helped concentrate the natural green sweetness and make the pea flavor. It also resulted in a clear syrup that doesn’t give away the green herbaceous flavor.
For The Spring is Here, we wanted to channel that feeling of the fresh greens of spring, so we started out with a nice light gin like Hendrick’s, which has a nice floral quality and lightness that feels very springy. Next we added in some of the snap pea syrup to add in a sweet rich snap pea flavor, which pulls out some of the floral and juniper notes from the gin. We were pretty happy with the gin and snap pea by itself, but we really wanted to add a little depth and complexity and really ramp up the green, so we added a splash of Green Chartreuse, which added a feeling of layered botanicals and herbs.
The addition of the Chartreuse required a little sour to bring the cocktail into balance, but we both felt that adding the usual citrus brought out a bitter component that we didn’t like, so rather than citrus, we added just a hint of plain white vinegar. The vinegar brought a little pickled quality to the drink, and a very clean acid component that brightened up the drink and pulled out the fresh flavor of the snap pea! We finished the drink with a spring of fresh mint as a garnish, which added a delicious aroma and cool burst to the Spring is Here!
We loved cool crispness of the Spring is Here cocktail, a nice combination of sweet and herbs that makes for an intriguing tipple. Definitely feeling like the start of the growing season, The Spring is Here is sure to be a spring favorite! Cheers!
- 1.5 oz Hendrick's Gin
- 1.25 oz Sweet Pea Syrup
- .25 oz Green Chartreuse
- 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
- fresh mint
- In a mixing glass add all liquids.
- Add ice.
- Stir to chill.
- Strain into a cocktail coupe.
- Slap the mint between your hands.
- Garnish with the mint.