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Cotswold Cocktail School - Hugo Cocktail Recipe

ABV 10% / 1.6 alcoholic units

Primary ingredient: Prosecco

A Brief History of a Hugo

The Hugo cocktail originated in the Alpine regions of Northern Italy and neighboring Austria, where it quickly became a beloved summer sipper. Its creation is often attributed to South Tyrol, and it gained widespread popularity as a refreshing apéritif, especially during warm summer months in the mountains.

The Hugo's rise to fame has made it a staple in Alpine bars and a symbol of leisure and relaxation against the stunning backdrop of the Alps.

Taste and Flavour Profile

The Hugo cocktail is a delightful interplay of floral and herbal notes:

  • Prosecco Sparkle: At its effervescent core is Prosecco, providing a lively and bubbly foundation to the drink.
  • Elderflower Elegance: Elderflower syrup contributes a sweet and floral dimension, infusing the cocktail with a fragrant and summery profile.
  • Minty Freshness: Fresh mint leaves add a burst of herbaceous freshness, creating a harmonious balance with the other ingredients.
  • Zesty Lime Twist: A splash of lime juice provides a citrusy zing, elevating the cocktail with a touch of tartness.

The result is a sprightly spritz that dances on the palate—an Alpine breeze encapsulated in a glass.

Food Pairings

  • Charcuterie Board: The light and refreshing nature of the Hugo complements the savoury delights of a well-curated charcuterie board.
  • Caprese Salad: The herbal and floral notes harmonise with the fresh flavours of tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil.
  • Light Seafood Dishes: Hugo's effervescence and herbal profile pair well with dishes like shrimp cocktail or grilled fish.

Bar Equipment

  • Bar spoon
  • Jigger
  • Spritz/wine glass


  • 90ml Brut Prosecco
  • 30ml  Elderflower liqueur
  • 25ml soda top
  • Couple of mint leaves
  • Garnish: lime wheel and mint sprig
  • Ice


  • Pour the first two ingredients into an ice filled glass along with a couple off mint leaves
  • Top with soda and lightly stir
  • Garnish with a lime wheel and mint sprig

What's the best Elderflower liqueur for a Hugo cocktail?

Selecting the best elderflower liqueur for a Hugo cocktail depends on personal preferences and availability. Elderflower liqueurs vary in sweetness, intensity of flavour, and the botanical notes they bring to a drink. Here are a few popular elderflower liqueurs that are commonly recommended for crafting a delicious Hugo cocktail:

  • St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur:  St-Germain is a well-known and widely used elderflower liqueur. It's celebrated for its delicate and complex flavor profile, offering floral and citrus notes. St-Germain is often considered a benchmark in the world of elderflower liqueurs and can add a touch of sophistication to your Hugo cocktail.
  • The Bitter Truth Elderflower Liqueur: The Bitter Truth offers an elderflower liqueur that is slightly less sweet than some other options. It has a nuanced and balanced flavour profile, allowing the herbal and floral notes to shine. This can be a good choice if you prefer a less sweet Hugo.
  • Fiorente Elderflower Liqueur: Fiorente is an all-natural Italian liqueur made of wild elderflowers. Its formula includes mint, lemon and lime infusions, to add a zesty finish to its delightfully floral and herbal character. Fiorente has a lower sugar content than most other elderflower liqueurs. This can be a good choice if you prefer a less sweet Hugo.
  • Monin Elderflower Syrup: While not a traditional liqueur, Monin Elderflower Syrup is a popular choice for those who prefer a non-alcoholic option or want to control the sweetness in their Hugo. It provides a concentrated elderflower flavour that can be diluted to taste.

When choosing an elderflower liqueur, consider the balance of sweetness, the intensity of elderflower flavor, and how it complements the other ingredients in your Hugo cocktail. Tasting notes and reviews can also be helpful in making a decision. Feel free to explore different brands to find the one that suits your palate best.

Prosecco or Champagne?

Both Prosecco and Champagne can be used to make a Hugo cocktail, and the choice between them depends on your personal taste preferences and the level of elegance you want to achieve with your cocktail.

  • Champagne: Using Champagne in your Hugo will provide the most luxurious experience. Champagne is known for its fine bubbles, complex flavours, and elegant aroma. It has a dry and crisp character, which pairs exceptionally well with the botanicals of elderflower and the acidity of fresh lime juice. If you want to create a truly elegant and upscale Hugo, Champagne is the way to go.
  • Prosecco: Prosecco is an Italian sparkling wine that is slightly sweeter and fruitier than Champagne, which has a more approachable and easygoing character. Using Prosecco in your Hugo will result in a sweeter and fruitier version of the cocktail which is true to its pedigree and with that in mind choose a Brut Prosecco for dryness. 

Ultimately, the choice between Prosecco and Champagne for your Hugo comes down to your personal preference and the occasion. If you're aiming for a more casual and approachable cocktail, Prosecco works well. However, if you want to elevate the cocktail to a higher level of sophistication and elegance, Champagne is the preferred choice.

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