A refreshing aperitif made from a simple blend of elderflower cordial and dry Prosecco with fresh mint and lime, the Hugo Cocktail is Europe’s best-kept secret. It goes well with sharp, fruity flavours, and can be used to add a delicious, fragrant note to cordials, jams and jellies.
The Hugo cocktail was created in the Tyrol region of Italy in 2005 by barman Roland Fruber and quickly became the must-have summer drink in the Alpine regions of Europe.
Now, it seems that the rest of the world is finally catching up. Elderflower, with its delicate floral taste, has become the must-have ingredient in recent years. The trend gained a Royal seal of approval in 2018 when Prince Harry and Megan Markle chose an elderflower and lemon flavoured wedding cake.
The Hugo cocktail showcases elderflower at its best, paired with sharp, zesty lime and refreshing mint. This Italian favourite looks set to take the world by storm. Its simple list of ingredients makes it easy to prepare at home, and its lightness, low-alcohol content, and the dryness of the Prosecco make it the perfect pre-dinner drink.
How is a Hugo cocktail different from an Aperol Spritz?
The Hugo is a type of Spritz, a simple cocktail made from a mix of wine and water. The Spritz is thought to have originated during the Hapsburg rule of the Veneto area of Italy in the 1800s, when German-speaking merchants and diplomats, unused to strong Venetian wines, would ask for a dash of water, or ‘spritzen’ in their drinks.
The first Spritzes were typically made from sparkling wine and water, but as their popularity spread around the world, people began experimenting with different flavours and combinations. By the early twentieth century, Spritzes were being served everywhere from cosy pre-dinner drinks to lavish society events, and had become a traditional favourite in Italy, Austria and Germany.
Aperol emerged as Italy’s favourite Spritz in the 1950s. Created by the Barbieri brothers in Padua in 1919, this bitter aperitif is made from rhubarb, gentian and cinchona, and has a similar taste and vivid orange colour to Campari, but with half the alcohol content. It’s Spritz is made from a combination of Prosecco, Aperol, and soda, with the proportions adjusted according to taste, and is garnished with a slice of orange.
Aperol Spritz remains a favourite italian aperitif to this day, but its bitter flavour can make it an acquired taste. The Hugo was created as an alternative to the Aperol Spritz, supposedly inspired by the elderflower trees growing on the side of the alps. Bitter Aperol is replaced by a touch of elderflower cordial with lime and mint, making a lighter, crisper drink.
How to make a Hugo cocktail
A basic Hugo cocktail couldn’t be simpler to make. You can experiment with the ingredients too, if you’re looking for something a little different.
If you miss the vibrant colour of the Aperol Spritz, you can use pink Prosecco to add a delicate blush colour to your Hugo, or if you want to keep a clear head, try alcohol-free Prosecco to make a Hugo mocktail. If you’re looking for something stronger, you can add a shot of gin, or swap the cordial for St Germain elderflower liqueur.
Ingredients for the classic Hugo cocktail recipe
30ml Elderflower cordial
Good quality, dry Prosecco
Sparkling water or German Seltzer
Large wine glasses, to serve.
Step-by-Step Recipe Guide
Fill each glass with a handful of crushed ice and add some torn mint leaves.
Muddle the mint leaves to release the mint oil into the glass, and add a few slices of lime
Pour 30ml of elderflower cordial over the ice, mint and lime, and add a dash of sparkling water.
Stir the mixture briefly, then top up with Prosecco.
Serve and enjoy.
Looking for more creative cocktails using Prosecco? Impress your friends with our modern Mimosas recipes that are a fun twist on a timeless drink.
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