Your new favourite drink is a vodka made from peas

Pod pea vodka is the newest spirit star at bars like Blinker, Hawksmoor and Schofield's

By Manchester's Finest | 30 May 2023

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If you’re someone with a cupboard full of gin, chances are you’re getting a bit fatigued by the whole gin schtick now. You’ve completed it, and you’re looking for the next spirit to obsess over. You might be thinking it’s rum, or tequila, but it isn’t. It’s vodka. Specifically pea vodka. 

We spoke to Becky Davies, Founder and Director of Manchester-based booze distributor Ten Locks for a chat about her appealing new venture, Pod, a vodka she has made from peas. Pod will be popping up in some of the UK’s top bars this year.

Becky Davies has made a very appealing new vodka. Image: Finest Media

It’s been quite the journey. The pea vodka has been in development for three years. What started as a fun idea turned out to be more challenging than Becky expected, but she was determined to make it work.

“Scientifically, it’s really really difficult to make vodka from peas” says Becky, “So in hindsight, it was a huge undertaking, but I’m glad that we got to where we are because it’s delicious and the feedback’s been amazing.”

What possessed Becky to try and make a vodka from peas?

“Vodka as a category has become unloved over the years with people opting for gin, but now there is gin fatigue and consumers are looking for something more interesting,” she says, “I wanted to make a brand that was quintessentially British, tastes amazing and is a bit different, but also really good for the planet.

“Peas are sustainable because they fix nitrogen into the soil so future crops thrive. The more peas we grow, the better.”

A bottle of pod reclines in a peaceful bit of grass. Image: Finest Media

Vodka is historically known to be very neutral, some might say uninteresting. Becky wanted to celebrate the fresh, sweet flavour of peas in a natural way. It turns out not all peas are born equal. She tells us they went on a “mad journey” to find the right species of pea that had enough sugar content to make alcohol (don’t get her started on the decorticated blue pea). You also need a huge amount of peas that have to be turned into pea flour which only adds to the fun because this flour, it turns out, is actually quite explosive.

When they did find the right species of pea, they realised it takes up to seven weeks to ferment them. For context, most vodkas can be fermented in a day. The fact that they actually ferment the product themselves sets them apart from many other brands, who tend to buy in neutral grain spirit.

Step one, open mouth, step two, pour. Image: Finest Media

With Pod, everything is done from scratch. Fermentation, distillation, bottling and storage are all done at Kingsland Drinks HQ in Salford (the parent company of Ten Locks). Apart from bringing the peas up from Suffolk, everything’s done here in Greater Manchester.

“We did try to source peas from Manchester but it’s too wet up north to grow peas consistently to the level that we need,” says Becky.

Shaped almost like a wine bottle, in a nod towards their parent company, Pod’s elegant bottles are made from transition glass. This is made when manufacturers change their production from green to clear glass, meaning less processing and therefore less waste. The sand used to make the bottles comes from UK beaches and they may vary in colour slightly from batch to batch so, says Becky, “Like our peas, our bottles are perfectly imperfect.”

A Green Snapper with pea vodka from Hawksmoor. Image: Finest Media

Buying sustainable means embracing those imperfections. The aim is to use no plastics or foils and even the lid will be 100% compostable. You could say that’s peak planet-friendly.

But what does Pod vodka taste like and, crucially, does it taste of peas?

In a word, yes. “It’s got a real vegetal, green, grassy note to it,” says Becky, “People are likening it a little bit to tequila on the nose but then sweet pea on the palate.

“But it isn’t a vodka to be drunk with Coke, for example.”

Garden Pod Mule at The Ivy. Image: Finest Media

So how do you drink pea vodka? 

Becky and the team have developed a perfect serve you can do at home called the Easy Peasy. Most people don’t want to have to whip out a cocktail shaker to enjoy a drink in their living rooms so the Easy Peasy requires just two things: Pod pea vodka and any plain premium soda. Using soda helps the unique pea flavour of the vodka to sing out like P(e)avarotti (sorry) from the glass. You can garnish it with a sugar snap pea if you’ve got one knocking about.

It also works really well with British apple juice (the more local the better), tomato juice, tonic and cloudy lemonade.

Where can I get my hands on this pea vodka?

Pod is available in-store at Tipples and Selfridges Trafford and is due to hit the shelves at Booths soon. It’s also available to buy online from Master of Malt and Amazon.

Blinker have created a Hedgerow cocktail with the pea vodka. Image: Finest Media

For now, Pod pea vodka will be available at Blinker, The Daisy, Hawksmoor, The Ivy, Schofield’s Bar, Wolf at the Door, and Tariff & Dale amongst others in Manchester. Some of the bars have developed their own cocktails around the spirit, there’s a Martipea (a cute take on a martini) at Tariff & Dale, a Petit Poire at Daisy NQ which pairs pea with pear, a verdant Hedgerow at Blinker, a spicy Green Snapper at Hawksmoor and a herby Garden Pod Mule at The Ivy – ideal as the weather starts to hot up.

After the ordeal of starting her own brand, a process she says she’s not sure she ever wants to repeat, Pod is going so well that Becky’s main concern is running out of stock to meet demand. So you’d better try it before it disappears. (Please drink responsibly, of course).

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