Benham's Gin

There's more to the area than just a bottle of red

Say the words Sonoma County, and endless vineyards and gleaming tasting rooms usually spring to mind. But thanks to local microdistiller Graton Distilling Co., one of the best things coming out of California wine country isn't Merlot: It's a bottle of gin.

Founder Derek Benham is billing his spirit as a unique, Sonoma-style dry gin, thanks to plenty of local ingredients. There's hand-zested Meyer lemons and fragrant Buddha's hand citrus for an intense brightness (both locally grown, at that), while floral chamomile and peppermint add an extra twist. Benham's also bringing in extra-ripe juniper berries from Italy's sun-drenched terrain, along with coriander seed by way of Morocco and cardamom from Guatemala.

Use it for "spectacularly palatable" martinis or in a gin and tonic that's brighter than a California summer.