Whisknladle's Tortuga
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1044 Wall Street, La Jolla

Adam Lockridge

Adam Lockridge

For Adam Lockridge, bar director at Whisknladle, it’s turtles all the way down — at least, that’s how his guests will feel when they get their first sip of the Tortuga…

Original to Whisknladle, this clever amalgamation of Negroni and Margarita (Negronita? Margaroni?), Lockridge says, pokes its head out from a fine carapace of bitter, sweet, and citrus flavors.

“The name comes pretty much from the garnish,” Lockridge admits. “Because of the tequila in it, I wanted to use a Spanish word for the name, and since the garnish is a lime wheel that is wedged between three one-inch blocked ice cubes, with half the lime wedge sticking out of the glass, it looks like a turtle head poking out of its shell.”

Given the combination of flavors, as an alternative name, the Negronita or Margaroni wouldn’t be half wrong, as Lockridge says the drink draws as much head-scratching comment for the inclusion of Italian liqueur as it does for the brightness of the tequila.

“That’s why we threw the Campari in there,” he says. “It’s a classic play on the margarita with that added bitter component.”

Because the Campari’s herbals work like an ether-shot to the appetite’s carburetor, the Tortuga also piggybacks well with food.

“Bitterness always gets you ready to eat as well,” he says. “It’s great to drink before or with a meal.”

The Tortuga isn’t shy to show off its complexity of flavors, either, Lockridge says.

“It’s going to start at the forefront of the palate like a margarita, tart and sweet,” he says, “and then mid-palate to the end, you’re going to get a component of bitterness and savory from the Campari and sea salt.”

  • • 1 1/2 oz. Reposado tequila 
  • • 1/2 oz. lime
  • • 1/2 oz. grapefruit
  • • 1/2 oz. agave
  • • 1/2 oz. Campari
  • • pinch of salt

Dissolve agave in tequila in shaker tin and add ice with remaining ingredients. Shake and strain over ice into glass. Garnish with lime wheel.

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