Hit the Refresh Button

A sweet California wine mixed with a wide range of botanicals makes for a refreshing aperitif.

Combine sweet and dry white wine from California, eau de vie that’s double-distilled into a fortified wine, and a garden’s worth of botanicals and voilà, a refreshing aperitif is born.

Jardesca California Aperitiva is the creation of Sonoma-based entrepreneurs Marshall Dawson and Roger Morrison, who looked to create a drink people could enjoy before dinner that would be less in-your-face than hard liquor yet more complex than wine. With Jardesca, they aim to “Americanize” the aperitif.

Fresh and bright, the concoction is intended to be enjoyed on ice. The coolness lifts its delightful aromas of peppermint, orange blossom and cardamom, with a taste of fresh-squeezed grapefruit and stone fruit not far behind.

Add a dash of orange, lemon or lime, or a few jiggers of mineral water or sparkling wine, garnish with a sprig of basil or mint, and Jardesca blossoms into a before-dinner drink for any time of the year.

Knowing that Sonoma is the ideal place to forage for ingredients, Dawson and Morrison tapped mixologist Duggan McDonnell and wine industry veteran Marcus Seiden to help figure out the ultimate blend.

The aperitif, which sells for approximately $30 for a 750 ml bottle, is produced at Sonoma Valley Custom Wines, run by Michael Sebastiani and Steve and Mike Sangiacomo; the eau de vie is custom-made for Jardesca by Essential Spirits Alambic Distillery in Mountain View.