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The Hugo Cocktail

Contribution from Sonja and Alex Overhiser of

What better drink to cut the carb load of the spaghetti dish than with this cocktail. The Hugo cocktail is a bubbly Italian spritz made with elderflower liqueur and Prosecco! It’s the perfect refreshing drink.

This cocktail might be the literal definition of refreshing. If you love bubbly spritzes, run don’t walk to try the Hugo cocktail! This Italian cocktail is a spin-off on the Aperol spritz and even better, in our opinion. It’s made with delicate floral elderflower liqueur and bubbly Prosecco, which compliment each other perfectly. The bubbly combination transports you right to Northern Italy, where this cocktail was born and is popular to this day. Here’s more about its history and how to make this beautiful drink!

What is a Hugo Cocktail?

The Hugo cocktail is a spritz cocktail made with Prosecco, elderflower syrup and soda water. The drink was invented in 2005 by Roland Gruber in Northern Italy (the South Tyrol region just south of Austria). He created the drink as an alternative to the classic Aperol spritz, and it quickly spread across the country and into Europe. After giving it a taste, we can see why! The Hugo is light and floral, accented with the delicate bubbles of Prosecco. Where its cousin, the Aperol spritz, is sweet and citrusy. This spin is more refined and even more refreshing.

We made one edit to the ingredient list for the Hugo cocktail. It’s easy to find elderflower syrup in Europe. But here in the US, it’s easier to get your hands on a bottle of St Germain, which is elderflower liqueur. So it’s a natural substitute!

Here’s what you’ll need to make a Hugo cocktail:

  • St Germain Elderflower Liqueur

  • Prosecco or other sparkling wine

  • Soda water

  • Fresh mint

What is St Germain?

The key to this Hugo spritz cocktail is the elderflower liqueur, which infuses a delicate floral flavor throughout the drink. St Germain is a liqueur that’s made with elderflowers, the small white flowers of an elderberry plant. The flavor is light, sweetly floral, and fragrant.

How do you say St Germain? The name is French, so say “Sahn-jer-MAHN” with your best French accent.

Fun fact: it’s relatively new to the scene. Get this: St Germain was invented in 2007! The vintage-looking bottle makes it seem like it has hundreds of years of history. But a guy named Rob invented it in 2007.

Just like the substitution of Elderflower liqueur, you can substitute the Prosecco as well. Prosecco is the Italian version of champagne, but you can use any type of sparkling wine you like! Make sure it is “Brut,” which means it is dry.


  • 1 ounces (2 tablespoons) St Germain liqueur (chilled if possible)

  • 3 ounces (6 tablespoons) Prosecco or other sparkling wine, chilled

  • 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) soda water

  • Ice, for serving (try clear ice!)

  • For the garnish: fresh mint

How to make a Hugo cocktail:

The Hugo cocktail is so easy to make: you don’t even have to dirty a cocktail shaker! The spritz family of drinks is fantastic because you simply pour the ingredients into a glass. Here are the basic steps (or skip to the recipe):

  • Stir: Stir the St Germain in a glass with ice to make it cold.

  • Top with bubbles: Add the Prosecco and soda water.

  • Garnish: Add the fresh mint and serve.

And that’s it! Let us know if you try the Hugo spritz and what you think.



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