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Jardesca, the Californian Apéritif

Why Two Liquor Industry Veterans Launched a Low-Calorie, Low-Alcohol Drink

Beverage options are endless these days, but liquor industry veterans Marshall Dawson and Roger Morrison recognized a need for an American apéritif that was refreshing, approachable, and low in calories. Their answer is Jardesca California Aperitiva, a blend of three wines and 10 botanicals.

Jardesca rep Charlie Morrison — who is coming to Laplace Wine Bar to discuss apéritifs and give a cocktail-making lesson on May 19 — gave us the lowdown on a drink he said is “perfect for brunch, patios, and poolside” and a recipe that he says is as “easy as 3-2-1.”

Why create Jardesca? Roger and Marshall were intrigued by apéritifs, which are very popular in Europe but, until recently, largely overlooked in the U.S. Apéritifs are intended to be refreshing, typically served over ice with a citrus twist, but some can be aggressively bitter.

They liked the idea of taking a traditional European apéritif and adding a quintessentially California twist that would appeal to an American consumer, not unlike what Starbucks did with espresso and coffee shops. Jardesca is inspired by their desire to capture the taste of the gardens and the vineyards of California in a bottle.

Who’s the audience? We have a broad range of consumers, but the biggest users tend to be epicureans seeking new experiences to share with friends, especially millennials. Women are particularly delighted to find a drink that is not too strong but livelier than a glass of wine and naturally low in calories.

Bartenders must love it, but how about everyday consumers? Mixologists love the bright and balanced profile that makes beautifully refreshing, low-ABV wine cocktails and refreshes traditional cocktail choices. Our biggest challenge is reaching consumers with the Jardesca experience, which is why we conduct so many tastings. As Jardesca is a new concept for most consumers, it is not as easy as simply introducing a new vodka or rosé. The good news is, once they taste it, an incredibly high proportion of consumers buy a bottle on the spot.


Jardesca California Spritz: Pour 3 oz. of Jardesca over ice, add 2 oz. of prosecco, and garnish with an orange wedge and mint sprig.


Laplace Wine Bar’s Sprigs n Spritz event, featuring Jardesca drinks and chutneys and preserves by West Coast Flavors, is on Saturday, May 19, 2-5 p.m. Tickets are $20. Call (805) 880-WINE (9463) or see

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