• Jarnard Sutton

Behind the Stick with Justin Greenwood of FruitCraft


FruitCraft Fermentery & Distellery, located in Hillcrest, is crafting up some tasty libations utilizing their fermented wines and inhouse ingredients. Justin Greenwood shows chats with Behind the Stick how they utilize their fermented wines to create cocktails.

Spicy Pineapple Margarita

5 dashes of spicy bitters

.75 oz lime juice

.75 oz Simple syrup

.25 oz Orange juice

1 oz pineapple wine

1.5 oz pomegranate spirit

Tajin rim with lime wheel and pineapple chunk garnish

What’s the story behind the pineapple margarita?

We were looking for an awesome classic cocktail that everyone could recognize but had a completely different makeup, especially because our entire concept is very different. When developing the pineapple margarita, we found that the pomegranate spirit added the taste we wanted to serve as the “tequila” of the margarita.

Describe the taste.

The perfect balance of sweet, spicy, tart and sour.

What’s the key component of this drink?

Pomegranate spirit

What’s the fermentation process of the pineapple wine?

Our fermentation process is closer to a cider process, but we use wine yeast instead. Using a low temperature fermentation we are able to lock in those flavors and aromatics of each fruit. The process takes around 3-4 weeks, then we filter.

Is the process of the pomegranate spirit the same as the fermentation process of the pineapple wine?

No but yes. Our spirits are all called Eau De Vie, which are more common in Europe and literally translate to “Water of Life.” We take the development process of an Eau De Vie, but change it a bit. The already fermented pomegranate wine is distilled in the same way bandy is, but minus the aging process. Usually you distill these spirits twice afterwards. However, we only do the process once. By only distilling once we can keep more of the flavor of the fruit while keeping the spirits as smooth as possible.

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

Honestly this is one of the most go to cocktails we have on the menu. You can have it with the spicy bitters, or not, and it’s always a killer. This is due to the spirit and wines we use, along with having fresh juices and homemade simple syrup.

What kind of food would you pair this cocktail with?

This cocktail would go great with a bbq chicken flatbread, or any kind of bbq flavored item. Other great options include any kind of light, white fish ( mahi mahi, tilapia, etc).

Watch as Justin Greenwood crafts up the Spicy Pineapple Margarita.

What kind of experience can guests get at FruitCraft?

At FruitCraft we strive to make you feel like we are family. We have several of our members that call us the new modern day CHEERS! We focus on a cool fun vibe that anyone can enjoy.

What’s unique about the cocktails at FruitCraft?

Using Eau de Vie as our spirit, gives you a higher quality cocktail. This is further illustrated through the use of fresh fruit as a base instead of potatoes, rice, or wheat. As an added bonus, the use of our wine as a low calorie/sugar liquor, we are able to add that amazing fruity flavor without all that extra sugar and calorie count!

About Justin Greenwood

Are you from San Diego?

I am not. I am originally from Missouri and moved to San Diego on a vacation trip. I have loved all two years I have lived here and consider San Diego my second home.

How did you get your start in the industry?

I have worked in the hospitality industry since I was 15, getting my first bartending job at the local Olive Garden. After moving here, I got my first bartending gig with FruitCraft.

What's your favorite thing about bartending?

The best thing about being a bartender is definitely the fast pace. I am a huge fan of the crazy and overwhelming, which is why Pride will forever be my favorite day at work. I love a good challenge!

Define the perfect cocktail.

The perfect cocktail is all about the balance of sweet, tart and BOOZY! I got to have the bite of alcohol to know I am drinking something!

What is the one thing you wish people understood about bartending?

Contrary to popular belief, making a great cocktail is more than just following a recipe. There is truly an art form, dedication and purpose that exists behind every sip.

Whats your favorite cocktail on the menu?

Our Spicy Cucumber Martini is definitely one of my favorites. Its refreshing, easy to drink, and has that extra kick of spice really helps round out the cocktail sending you on a roller coaster of flavors and emotions while drinking.

What your favorite liqueur?

Grand marnier would have to be one of my tops! Adding it to a margarita is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life!

What should everyone stock in their home bar?

If it’s not a fantastic Eau De VIe, then it should definitely be a bottle of Patron! Either is good for literally any occasion from a nice easy night to a fun filled dance party.

What do you do in your spare time when you’re not working at FruitCraft?

I love the beach or just hanging with friends at the beach. You will most likely catch me hanging at any of the new bars around town seeing what’s new and looking for a great new cocktail inspiration!

What’s next for you?

I am excited to grow alongside FruitCraft. Just making as many memories along the way as possible!

FruitCraft Fermentery Distillery

1477 University Ave., Hillcrest. (877) 484-6282 or fruitcraft.com

Follow FruitCraft:

Instagram | Facebook

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