Snap Peas Breathe New Life Into the Martini

How to transform the classic cocktail with a little help from late spring produce

June 10, 2024 6:47 am
a martini garnished with a snap pea sitting on a green table
The Snap Pea ‘Tini from Katherine Lewin's new book, "Big Night: Dinners, Parties & Dinner Parties"
Emma Fishman

Welcome to our summer produce series. Every week until the end of August, we’re highlighting the most in-season fruit or veggie of the moment, as handpicked by the experts at Natoora. You can learn more about the company and how they work with farmers in our first piece of the series.

Bartenders have been getting really creative with Martini garnishes. Last year, we relished in the Spring Gibson from Jason Hedges’s book The Seasonal Cocktail, which proves that farmers market produce is just as valuable behind the bar as it is in the kitchen. And as we enter week two of our summer produce series, the ingredient du jour — peas — is just as good in libations as it is in fresh salads and verdant pastas. 

Two Types of Peas, Two Slightly Different Seasonalities

When we were chatting with Natoora about week two produce, Brand Manager Phoebe Creaghan told us that two types of peas would be ripe for the picking. “A grower we work with, Phil, just transplanted English peas outside, and they survived the final frosts in Vermont,” she says. “They will start at the end of May (planned mid-May but delayed because of a cold spring), and sugar snap peas are starting at the end of May as well. This is an ideal time for peas, as the weather has not warmed too much, allowing slow growth and sugars and preventing starchiness that comes with heat.”

But, as we all know quite well, things don’t always go according to plan. At the beginning of last week, I got a note from Creaghan, saying that we might not have one type of pea at peak ripeness quite yet. “English peas are delayed this year, with very low yields at this point in the season,” she says. “Early spring excessive rain hindered most Northeast crops from growing. The next harvests are expected in two weeks, and the outlook is more positive. This unfortunately seems to be a nationwide (and global) trend — English Peas in particular struggle with the unpredictable and fluctuating weather that’s on the rise with climate change. Snap peas are faring better.”

a wooden box of snap peas on a concrete floor
Snap peas are at their prime right now.

We’re looking on the bright side because now we can enjoy two different types of peas at their peak for a few good weeks. Here’s info on how to get the most of them this year, courtesy of Natoora:

  • What to look for when shopping: Large, bright green pods
  • How to store them for maximum freshness: Store cold, dry and covered. For best flavor, use the peas soon after purchase, as peas have a high sugar content which begins to convert to starch as soon as they are harvested. 
  • How to use English peas: Remove peas from the pod by snapping off the end and removing the fibrous string along the length of the pod to open. Eat raw (if freshly harvested), blanched or steamed.
  • How to use snap peas: Use the entire pod whole or sliced and eat raw, blanched or steamed. 
How to Use Green Garlic, Late Spring’s Most Prized Ingredient
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The Recipe

Big Night in New York City is one of my favorite places to shop for home goods, as its vibrant decor and stunning serveware — curated by founder Katherine Lewin — fills me with joy, whether I’m entertaining a crowd or sitting down with a solo cocktail. Lewin just debuted her first book, Big Night: Dinners, Parties & Dinner Parties, and it’s filled with recipes, tips and inspiration for turning any old night into a big night. And to my delight, the book has a recipe for a Snap Pea ‘Tini.

“My favorite thing about spring is, undoubtedly, the arrival of sugar snap peas,” Lewin said in the book. “I will eat a sugar snap pea any way, anytime, anywhere — raw while walking down the street, charred on top of labneh for a quick springtime side or dunked in literally any dip I can find, with abandon. One day, it dawned on me: why am I not eating my beloved snap peas in cocktail form? My resident bartender and husband, Alex, promptly developed this drink, which combines two of my everlasting loves: snap peas and Martinis.”

Get to your farmer’s market this week while this of-the-moment ingredient is still at its prime.

Snap Pea 'Tini

Servings: 1

  • 8 oz. sugar snap peas, roughly chopped
  • 10 oz. gin (for the snap pea-infused gin)
  • 2.75 oz. snap pea–infused gin (recipe follows)
  • .75 oz. dry vermouth
  • 1 whole sugar snap pea, for garnish
  • For the snap pea-infused gin:
    1. Plop the chopped snap peas into a jar and pour in the gin. Seal, shake for about 10 seconds and leave on the counter to infuse for 3 hours, or refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

    2. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean jar. Store the infused gin in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

  • For the Martini:
    1. Place a coupe glass in the freezer to chill.

    2. In a cocktail shaker filled halfway with ice, combine the infused gin and the vermouth. Cover the shaker and shake vigorously until very, very cold, about 20 seconds.

    3. Pour the martini into the chilled glass and garnish with a snap pea.


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