Have you met the Hugo Spritz? This breezy sparkling elderflower cocktail will take you straight to Italy in summertime. And it couldn't be easier to make.
Why we love this recipe
This delightful aperitif has the easy charm of a classic cocktail, even though it wasn't officially invented until the 21st century. Elderflower is such a beautiful cocktail ingredient, with a delicate and totally irresistible flavor profile.
This drink is:
- Light, refreshing, and perfect for summer happy hour sipping
- Elegant enough to be the signature cocktail at an event, but low-key enough to drink any time
- A little bit citrusy, a little bit herbaceous, and a little bit floral in a combination that's totally magical
- SO easy to make. You put it together right in the glass, or batch it in a pitcher if you prefer
What you'll need
Here's all you need to make this sparkling elderflower cocktail.
- St-Germain is our elderflower liqueur of choice. You can also use Giffard Wild Elderflower Liqueur (Fleur de Sureau sauvage) or any other brand that you like.
- Prosecco is a natural choice for this Italian aperitif, but any dry sparkling wine that you enjoy drinking will work well. A good Spanish Cava would be great, and I tend to use our favorite Chandon Brut from California. Or make it an official Elderflower Champagne cocktail using a good midprice Champagne.
- Mint is the official herb of the Hugo, but I prefer basil. The two are related, and both summery herbs pair well with the other flavors in this drink. Choose whichever you like.
A note on equipment
For many cocktails, you'd expect to be muddling ingredients at the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Here, you bruise the mint and lime right in the glass. It pays to choose a sturdy wine glass (unlike mine pictured here). If you're planning to serve your spritzes outdoors, you might even consider good-quality plastic wine glasses.
How to make it
It's always a bonus when you can make a cocktail right in the glass. The Hugo is meant to be made as a single serving, but you can also batch this drink in a pitcher.
- Muddle a bit of mint and lime together in an ice-filled wine glass.
- Pour in the elderflower liqueur.
- Pour in the Prosecco.
- Top with soda water (seltzer or club soda), give it a quick stir, and garnish with a lime wheel and mint leaves. That's it!
How to serve it
A Hugo Spritz is toootally acceptable at any time, but it's especially great outdoors as a warm-weather aperitif. Serve it as the signature drink at a casual cocktail party with a few low-key appetizers:
Expert tips and FAQs
Though it feels like a classic cocktail, the Hugo Spritz was invented in 2005 by a bartender in northern Italy as an alternative to the Aperol Spritz (Spritz Veneziano). The original version used lemon balm syrup rather than elderflower. It quickly grew in popularity, not just in Italy, but also in Austria, Switzerland, and Germany.
It's worth noting that people have been combining sparkling wine and elderflower for eons before 2005.
St-Germain is a French elderflower liqueur that makes a wildly amenable cocktail ingredient. Since its inception in 2007, it has become by far the most widely proliferated elderflower liqueur.
The iconic bottle is designed to evoke Art Deco style, and the name harkens back to St-Germain-des-Prés, a Paris neighborhood synonymous with the Belle Époque and Art Deco movements.
You sure can! You can make the Hugo Spritz in a pitcher if you like.
One bottle of Prosecco contains 24 ounces, so just about enough for five drinks. Fill a pitcher with plenty of ice. Muddle 5 lime slices and 5 mint leaves. Pour in 7.5 ounces St-Germain. You can make the batch a few hours in advance up to this point.
When ready to serve, pour in a bottle of Prosecco and give it a stir. You can add the soda water to the pitcher or top each glass with a splash. Add mint leaves and a lime wheel to each glass when serving.
Love bubbly cocktails?
So do I! Try some of our other favorite cocktail recipes with sparkling wine:
- 2 lime wheels
- 1 sprig of mint
- 1 ½ ounces St-Germain
- 5 ounces Prosecco
- Splash of soda water
- Fill a large wine glass halfway with ice.
- Add one lime wheel and a couple of mint leaves and muddle gently.
- Pour in St-Germain.
- Pour in Prosecco and top with soda water. Give it a quick stir.
- Garnish with mint and lime wheel and serve.
- St-Germain is a French elderflower liqueur. It's subtly flavored, with notes of peach, pear, and grapefruit. You won't be sorry to have this bottle in your bar. It's easy to use.
- You can control the strength of this drink by sizing the splash of sparkling water up or down to suit your taste.
- Truth be told, I prefer to use basil instead of mint. They both work well, so choose whichever you like!
- You can use any good-quality dry sparkling wine that you enjoy drinking, whether or not it's Prosecco. A Spanish Cava would work well, and I especially like to use our favorite Chandon Brut from California.
- You could batch this drink by making it in a pitcher if you like. One bottle of Prosecco contains 24 ounces, so just about enough for five drinks. Fill a pitcher with plenty of ice. Muddle 5 lime slices and 5 mint leaves. Pour in 7.5 ounces St-Germain. You can make the batch a few hours in advance up to this point. When ready to serve, pour in a bottle of Prosecco and give it a stir. You can add the soda water to the pitcher or top each glass with a splash. Add mint leaves and a lime wheel to each glass when serving.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 169Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 13mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 4gSugar: 5gProtein: 1g