Hugo is a refreshing drink but its use of elderflower syrup makes it much less known outside of Europe. If you can get your hands on elderflower liqueur instead, the recipe is largely the same and I guarantee you’ll enjoy it. Quite easy to make !
This post may contain affiliate links. This post is meant for those of legal drinking age.
What is Hugo ?
The Hugo is a long drink, or rather a spritz, that first came to be in Germany. It’s not well known outside of Europe mostly due to the use of elderflower syrup. Originally the drink was to use lemon balm syrup, but that wasn’t readily available for everyone. However, elderflower is much more common, and getting elderflower to make syrup is quite easy in these parts. So as Hugo became more and more popular, it shifted to using only elderflower.
This drink started out in Tyrol, Austria, right on the border with Italy so naturally you will find deep love for the Hugo cocktail in all of Italy, Austria, and Germany. I know this recipe from my fun aunt (we all have one!), who moved to Germany back in 2010, and it’s the one I’ve been making ever since.
When is this drink best ?
Hugo is pretty much the European parallel to the mojito, in terms of summer refreshments. It’s common on menus, most bartenders and mixologists have a pretty good grasp of it, and the mint just makes everything better. So, this is a summer drink for both me and my husband.
We’re particularly fond of sipping on one by the pool or when sunbathing, or on a hot summer evening just just the two of us on the balcony.
- 6 oz dry sparkling wine
- 1.5 oz elderflower cordial or syrup
- 4-6 mint leaves
- 2-3 lime wheels
- Build in a red wine glass. Add in slapped mint leaves, and fill halfway with ice.
- Pour in elderflower syrup, then the sparkling wine. Stir until syrup is combined.
- Garnish with lime wheels.
- This is a large drink, but it can be halved for a smaller glass if needed.
- Wine glass, as this calls for sparkling wine. Could also be champagne flute.
My thoughts on Hugo
This can be tough to love if you’re not fond of sparkling wine or elderflower. I grew up with elderflower syrup so for me there’s an element of familiarity which I know isn’t available to everyone. For me Hugo became an instant hit when an aunt that moved to Germany first made the drink for us several years ago, and I introduced it to my husband. And as my aunt said, prosecco works better for Hugo than sparkling wine, but if that’s all you have no one will call the police.
If you like Hugo, you might also like…
Mojito – rum-based, minty, refreshing, and as summery as it gets.
Queen’s Park Swizzle – looks fun, sounds fun, is fun ! Similar to mojito.
Mimosa – sparkling wine and orange juice, refreshing, goes with anything.
Aperol Spritz – Aperol, champagne, and sparkling water cocktail
Notes, substitutes, and tips
The recipe calls for sparkling wine, but if you have prosecco that will work too. The difference is small and lies in the production method. All prosecco is dry, while sparkling wine can go all the way to sweet. If you do use sparkling wine, get dry.
Elderflower syrup may be substituted for elderflower liqueur, in the same amount. Makes for a stronger drink, but just as sweet and flavorful.