There are many theories about how to make the perfect G&T. But traditional recipes don’t normally take greenhouse gas emissions into account.

Now a new study shows how using fermented peas instead of wheat to make the gin could have significant environmental benefits.

Each litre of pea gin could avoid 2.2 kg of carbon dioxide emissions, according to the research published in Environment International.

Crucially, the taste is reportedly just as good. Kirsty Black, a manager of a Scottish distillery, says she is confident that the gin made from pea starch tastes the same as gin made from wheat, according to the Fast Company.

The fertilizer factor

Gin is one of the most popular spirits drunk worldwide and there are 6,000 types of gin in production.

And it is big business, generating revenues of $13,994m in 2019. The market is expected to grow annually by 4.4%, according to Statista Market Forecast.

Global gin consumption is expected to reach 900 million litres by 2023
Global gin consumption is expected to reach 900 million litres by 2023
Image: Statista

The spirit is traditionally made with wheat, grown according to modern agricultural practices including the use of chemical fertilizers. But one of the key advantages of peas, or other legume crops, is that they don’t require fertilizer as they have their own source of nitrogen in root nodules.

Excess use of fertilizers leads to nitrous oxide emissions, a greenhouse gas 260 times more potent than carbon dioxide. And emissions from fertilizers accounted for around 19% of agricultural production emissions in 2010.

Using home-grown pea crops could dramatically reduce the potential impact on climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions that are associated with land clearing, cultivation, processing and transport, the researchers found

Coffee beer

Image: REUTERS/Eduard Korniyenko

Finding sustainable and more-environmentally sources of food is a key challenge as the world’s population continues to grow.

Other alcoholic drinks made from sustainable sources are also coming onto the market, including beer made from waste coffee grounds or bread crumbs.

Switching to pea gin is one small change in the fight against climate change. But every little helps.