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  • Writer's pictureJarnard Sutton

Behind the Stick with Phil Mainini of crushed

Phil Mainini, general manager at crushed, shows us how to make their take on the sour gimlet called Cucumber Gimlet. He also chats about how they fermented their liquors.

Cucumber Gimlet


2 oz of English Crown Gin

1 oz fresh lime juice

1 oz simple syrup

2 rounds of fresh cucumber muddled

What's the story behind the Cucumber Lime Gimlet?

We are constantly improving everything in our restaurant and the cocktail list is no exception. We wanted a nice fresh gin cocktail for the summer to round out our unique cocktail list.

Describe the taste.

This is a fresh light tasting drink that appeals to a variety of crowds.

What's the key component of this drink?

There's no single key component to this drink. What makes it a balance light drink it an equal distribution on sweet , sour and cucumber.

What's the process of fermenting gin with juniper berries?

We buy wholesale fresh juniper barriers and with a mallet break the berries slightly before adding a case of gin and the berries into a large bucket to steep for 24 hours in our cold box.

What reactions are you expecting to get from customers when they try this cocktail for the first time?

We expect the avid gin drinker to be content with its freshness and non gin drinkers to be surprised that they ow love gin.

If you had to pair this cocktail with a dish, what would you pair it with?

Definitely our fish tacos. Fish tacos and a cucumber gimlet just scream a light summer meal to me.

Watch as Phil Mainini shows us how to make their take of the sour gimlet called Cucumber Gimlet.

What kind of experience can guests get at Crushed?

We strive to give every guest a welcoming and personal experience. We want everyone that walks through our door to feel like they are at our personal house. Relaxed and impressed.

What's unique about the cocktails at Crushed?

We don’t serve distilled liquor, this means the way we make cocktails are specifically crafted for the flavors and profiles of our fermented liquor.

About Phil Mainini

Are you from San Diego?

I am not! I grew up in Boston, moving out to California when I was 21. I did a year in San Francisco before discovering this beautiful place and making it my home.

How did you get your start in the industry?

I started as a door man in a small beach bar in ocean beach one week into moving to San Diego. The people at this bar became my family and I was privileged enough in the next few years to learn and grow within the industry being taught by some amazing people along the way. I went from door man, to bareback, to bartender then manager in these nine years. Along the way having every job imaginable in the bar industry.

What's your favorite thing about bartending?

Every day is a new experience or a new story. Being in a bar is thrilling and in my opinion a privilege. We get to meet so many people from so many walks of life and it never gets old.

What's your favorite cocktail on the menu?

It would have to be the Big Daddy's Peach Tea. There's something beautifully simple about whiskey and peach tea on a hot summer San Diego day.

What's your favorite spirit?


What do you do in your spare time when you're not working at crushed?

I don’t have much spare time but when I do its spent with my amazing girlfriend and dog. I try to keep up with boxing and wrestling as much as I can as well.

What's next for you?

I want to keep leading crushed in the direction that the owners Andy, Amy and Edgar have envisioned and allowed me to spear head. We have an amazing staff here at crushed and we are doing amazing things with changing how the landscape of bars are looked at here in Pacific Beach.


967 Garnet Ave., Pacific Beach. (858) 230-6567 or

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