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  • Writer's pictureJarnard Sutton

Behind the Stick with Bobby Magee: How to make the Stranded Sicilian

Stranded Sicilian


Courtesy photo Jarnard Sutton

1.5 oz. roasted pineapple-infused gin .75 oz. Aperol .75 oz. Cocchi Americano Juice of 1/2 a lemon Garnish: pineapple wedge

What’s the origin of the Stranded Sicilian?

The Stranded Sicilian was created through a collaboration between Connor Duncan and Matt Kukral, two of our great cocktail team members at CUCINA urbana. Conner had a strange dream where he was on a deserted island drinking gin from a bored out pineapple, and Matt was becoming increasingly interested in gin cocktails for people who don't like gin cocktails. After creating the roasted pineapple-infused gin, the two experimented with combinations, and out of that cooperation, the Stranded Sicilian was born. How would you describe the taste to someone who hasn’t had this before?

The cocktail is crisp and refreshing, great balance between the bitterness of the Aperol and lemon, and the sweetness of the pineapple gin. What would be the key component in this drink?

The key component of this drink is definitely the Roasted Pineapple Gin. We roast the pineapple in our pizza oven until caramelized, removing just before blackening the fruit. After adding the pineapple to the gin, we let it rest until the desired intensity of the pineapple flavor is achieved, usually between 8-10 days. The gin is then strained and ready to be served. Alone, the infused gin is a wonderful combination of sweet and savory, used in a cocktail, it serves as a fantastic base spirit full of surprises for an unsuspecting guest. What reactions do you get from customers when they try this cocktail for the first time?

Love at first taste! The reaction of our patrons when trying the Stranded Sicilian for the first time is great to witness. Customers who are tentative to try gin are opened up to the world of beautiful flavors that only gin can offer, changing their preconceived notions of gin being too bitter for their palate. Does CUCINA urbana offer other infused alcohol?

Our CUCINA urbana Cocktail Team is always looking for interesting flavor combinations. As a result, we have quite a few infusions scattered throughout our menus. At the moment we are featuring a Persimmon and Cinnamon Gin, dubbed "Per-cinna-gin", Roasted Sage and Lemon Zest Vodka, and my favorite, Roasted Pineapple and Star Anise Sweet Vermouth. Added to our infusion list are our year round offerings of Gala Apple Bourbon, and Fresno Chili Tequila. We also have a few "secret menu" infusion offerings available by request. What are some good dishes to pair this drink with?

One of my favorite pairing is the Stranded Sicilian with our Grilled Octopus. The brightness of the cocktail matches up perfectly with the acidity of our octopus and virtually transports you to a Mediterranean island paradise.

Watch top bartender Bobby Magee of CUCINA urbana in Bankers Hill show you how to make this refreshing, pineapple-forward libation.

What kind of experience can someone get at CUCINA urbana?

One of the best dining experiences in San Diego, CUCINA urbana offers a journey unlike any other in town. It begins with our incredibly knowledgeable and sincere staff as they walk each guest through the extensive menu created by our talented culinary team, lead by Executive Chef Joe Magnanelli. As a result of making our dishes entirely in house, freshly made pasta, house cured meats, artisanal bread, perfect pizza dough, and house made cheeses, the care and quality of our ingredients is obvious from the first bite. The staff is keenly aware of the effort that lies behind each dish as well as how each of the ingredients come together to create such wonderful flavors. As a result of this knowledge and appreciation, we are genuinely excited for each guest to experience these dishes for themselves. The atmosphere that our culinary team has achieved has inspired our cocktail team to strive to the same ideal. Our ever evolving cocktail list showcases the combination of our individual styles and techniques to find new and exciting flavor profiles that can be expressed through our cocktails. If a guest prefers wine over cocktails or beer, then our retail wine shop is a must see. Balancing the unique wines of Italy and Europe with boutique wineries from across California, our retail shop reflects the passion and nuance of our restaurant as a whole.

About Bobby Magee

Courtesy photo Jarnard Sutton

Did you grow up in San Diego?

Growing up in Arizona, San Diego was always a destination where I wanted to live. About 10 years ago, I finally made my wish a reality and moved to town. How did you get into bartending?

I have worked in the industry since my first job at age 15, dish washer and busboy, at a small restaurant. As I grew up, I found the industry suited me well. Eventually, I moved behind the bar and I very much enjoyed the customer interaction. These early experiences led me to pursue a degree in psychology. The study of people's behavior and our interactions seemed fitting to the business I enjoyed so much. After graduating from the University of Arizona and moving to San Diego, I knew I had found my passion, behind a bar mixing cocktails as experiences for the new friends I make on a nightly basis. Any local bartenders you look up to?

San Diego has such a great cocktail scene, with so many talented people. The cocktail team at CUCINA urbana inspire me every day with their knowledge and creativity. Individually, Aaron Cribbes, one of the many talents at The Patio on Goldfinch, constantly amazes and informs me of new creative techniques each time I visit. His passion and creativity are quite evident and always inspiring. When you’re not mixing drinks, what are you doing in your spare time?

In the last few years I have become increasingly obsessed with the sport of Disc Golf. If I'm not behind a bar, you can usually find me at Morley Field Disc Golf Course enjoying the San Diego weather and searching for more birdies. Get Out and Throw!

CUCINA urbana

505 Laurel St., Bankers Hill. (619) 239-2222 or

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