Last Updated on October 26, 2023 by Jo Fitzsimons
Looking for a light, summery Prosecco-based cocktail that you can serve at your next garden party or afternoon tea? Why not mix up a batch of The Hugo?
What is The Hugo?
The Hugo is a refreshing spritz-style low-alcohol cocktail consisting of Prosecco, soda water, elderflower syrup, mint leaves and lime. With its light, delicate flavour, The Hugo couldn’t be further in taste from the Aperol Spritz, another spritz-style cocktail.
The Hugo originates from the South Tyrolean region of Alto Adige of Northern Italy but is also extremely popular in neighbouring Austria and Switzerland. Typically it’s ordered as a pre-dinner aperitif drink. But, for me, it’s perfectly paired with canapés and snacks during a garden party.
Even better, The Hugo is very quick to make and requires no prep.
What is the best Prosecco to use?
If there’s one thing I know, it’s Prosecco so here’s my take on the best Prosecco to use for the Hugo. For many Prosecco-based cocktails, there is definitely a ‘best’ Prosecco to use. However, for The Hugo, you can lean towards your own personal tastes. Since it’s a slightly sweeter cocktail, I’d recommend using an Extra Dry Prosecco which will blend nicely with the elderflower syrup. If you prefer a less sweet taste or want to add gin, a Brut will be better. Remember, Extra Dry is actually sweeter than Brut Prosecco.
Here are are few tips for choosing Prosecco for cocktails:
- The more Prosecco there is in the drink, the more you’ll want a higher quality Prosecco. Look for DOCG on the label (this means it is premium Prosecco, compared to DOC).
- If the Prosecco is a small part of the drink or is paired with strong additional ingredients e.g. orange juice or Italian bitters, you can get away with a DOC or cheaper bottle. (Shhh, I won’t tell if you don’t).
Does The Hugo include gin?
The answer is: if you want it to! The classic Hugo cocktail didn’t have gin in its ingredient list. However, since gin pairs so well with lime, it’s an easy and popular addition to The Hugo. Though you might prefer to make an Elderflower Gin Fizz which also includes Prosecco, lemon, gin and elderflower. Adding gin is also a great choice if you want to reduce the sweetness of the elderflower syrup. Both Tanqueray and Hendricks Dry London Gins work well. Otherwise, use whatever gin you have in your cupboard. Just be careful about adding heavily flavoured gins as these will alter the taste too much.
Can you use St Germain Elderflower Liqueur?
St Germain is a beautiful elderflower liqueur that isn’t used enough as far as I’m concerned. And, yes, it’s the perfect addition to The Hugo. Just swap out the elderflower syrup in the same quantities. The liqueur is usually a little less sweet than the syrup so feel free to add a dash of syrup if you’re after a sugary drink. But taste it first. As my nan used to say – you can add more in but you can’t take it out.
- ¾ ounces / 20 ml of Soda Water (or Sparkling Water)
- 1 - 2 teaspoons of Elderflower Syrup
- Mint Leaves
- Lime Wedge
- Add the mint leaves, lime wedge and plenty of ice to a glass.
- Add the elderflower syrup and soda water.
- Top up the rest of the glass with a generous serving of Prosecco.
- If you want to make this cocktail a little more alcoholic, you can always swap the elderflower syrup for an elderflower liqueur instead.
- And if you really want to give The Hugo a hit of alcohol, add a 1 ounce (20 ml) measure of gin.
- To make it more sweet, remove the lime.
- Adding the mint as a garnish rather than placing it in the glass before you add the ingredients will reduce the minty flavour.