Tequila cocktails to celebrate Mexico's 200th birthday

Today, September 15, is Mexican Independence Day and Mexico's 200th birthday--that's right, their bicentennial--giving us an ideal opportunity to raise a glass to our friends south of the border. Here are a few tasty recipes for your toast.

Watermelon Breeze from Jamie Salaas 2 parts Milagro Silver tequila
1 part fresh lemon juice
1 part simple syrup (1:1)
3 watermelon cubes
1 rosemary sprig

Muddle melon and rosemary, add the rest of the ingredients, shake, strain, and pour into a highball glass filled with ice. Garnish with a watermelon ball and rosemary sprig.

The El Pepino Fresco from The Randolph at Broome lounge in NYC

2 cucumber slices 1/2 oz. simple syrup 2 oz. tequila 1/2 oz. St. Germain elderflower liqueur Peychaud bitters cucumber slice to garnish

Muddle two cucumber pieces with 1/2 oz. simple syrup and 1/2 oz. St. Germain elderflower liqueur, add tequila, shake, and strain over rocks. Top with Peychaud bitters and garnish with a cucumber slice

The Elegante Fizz from Adam Harness, 2X Iron Bartender champion

1.5 oz Blanco tequila 1 oz Domaine De Canton ginger liqueur sparkling wine

Shake tequila and ginger liqueur with ice. Strain into a chilled glass and top with sparkling wine.

Chili Margarita from DIY-on-the-Fly

2 large basil leaves or equivalent of cilantro 1 slice of hot pepper: jalapeno, habanero, Thai, or other--quantity and type according to desired heat 2 oz tequila 3/4 oz fresh lime juice 3/4 Cointreau or triple sec salt beer chaser, if desired

Muddle basil and pepper in the bottom of a pint glass. Add tequila, lime juice, and Cointreau or triple sec. Shake with ice. Strain into a second ice filled glass, rimmed with salt. Garnish with herb, lime, and a hot pepper slice. Serve with optional beer chaser.

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