Ever heard of a Spanish Gin & Tonic? If you have, you know it’s the bomb dot com. If you haven’t, say hello to your new favorite porch sipper and all-around warm weather champ.
Here’s the thing: it’s hard to improve on a reaaaaally good G&T. Lightly bitter, tart, and bracingly effervescent, it’s best enjoyed ice cold and out of doors. And while I totally understand the call to be a G&T purist (I just invested in a hefty load of welding tools so I can work on force-carbonating the perfect Dave Arnold style classic G&T, more on that later), I also think it’s a classic that can stand up to a thoughtfully integrated seasonal infusion.
Hence, the Snap Pea Spanish Gin & Tonic:
At this point, I should probably explain what makes a G&T ‘Spanish.’ The short answer is that in Spain, they aren’t afraid to garnish the heck out of this crystal clear summer beverage, and add some regional or seasonal flair. Typically served in a wine goblet and with lemon peel instead of the classic lime wedge, you’ll see these served with everything from juniper berries (my favorite), to slices of strawberry and any number of fresh herbs.
I loved my Snap Pea infusions so much (check out my Snap Pea Sour here), I couldn’t help but swap them into a few gin + vodka based classics. The resulting Snap Pea Spanish Gin & Tonic was a match made in heaven — the earthy, vegetal pea flavor was perfectly balanced by the bright lemon peel and tonic’s bitter quinine. Light, refreshing, spring in a glass.
For additional color and vegetal flavor, I sliced up some fresh watermelon radish from my local market and wasn’t disappointed — it integrated perfectly with the snap pea gin. If you can’t find watermelon radish, any old radish will do.
Final notes: in the G&T game, quality ingredients and temperature really matter. Use fresh produce, your favorite gin, and top notch tonic water. I like Q Drinks and Fever Tree (affiliate links) for pre-mixed sodas, and Jack Rudy and Seattle’s And Tonic for tonic syrup. Store your gin and glasses in the freezer and soda in the fridge a day in advance for best soda-gin integration (a science-y thing that has to do with density, just trust me on this one), and always pour your soda very gently down the side of the glass, holding the glass at an angle. When you’re making a very simple classic, it’s the little things that matter!
- 2 oz snap pea infused gin (recipe below)
- 5 oz tonic water
- lemon peel
- For the snap pea infusion, combine ⅔ cup roughly chopped snap peas with 1 cup gin. Let sit for one hour, stirring occasionally, then strain through cheesecloth or a nut milk bag. Store in freezer.
- For the cocktail: Express the lemon peel by twisting it into a chilled, empty wine goblet. Run the peel around the edges of the glass and discard.
- Add gin to the goblet.
- Gently pour the tonic water into the gin by titling the glass and pouring it down the side.
- Gently add ice (slide it slowly down the side of the glass) and garnishes (adding it last keeps the carbonation high and mixes the ingredients best).
- I garnished with juniper berries, pea shoots, and watermelon radish slices.
If you want to get into the garden groove but aren’t really into vegetal cocktails, check out my Garden Party recipe. It’s equally light and floaty, but has a strictly floral profile. And if you’re looking for a seasonal sour with a slightly shorter ingredient list, check out my Spring IPA Sour!
If you try this Snap Pea Spanish Gin & Tonic recipe, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, and tag a photo #gooddrink @colljeffers on Instagram. I love seeing your creations. Cheers, friends!