All in Drink like the Swiss
Hugo was the invention of a beardy, south Tirolean barkeep vagabond who mixed together Zitronenmelissensirup (lemon balm syrup), Prosecco, mint, and a spritz of soda water, thought up a name off the top of his head, and served it to regulars at his bar in Naturns in 2005.
Holunderblütensirup (elderflower syrup) is a syrup of many uses. In Switzerland it is added with abandon to sparking water, wine or cocktails (Hugo) for a light and floral summery taste. There is Holunderblütencreme and you can even batter and fry the blossoms.
Vin Blanc Chaud
In mid December, I took in the Strasbourg Christmas market with my buddies Lauren and Emily. The highlight was lovely steaming cups of warm, spiced white wine that went right to our heads.
A couple of sips and our eyes got glassy, our speech emotional, and the cobblestones became difficult to negotiate.
It was some good mulled wine.
Black Beer Soup
According to the Oxford Companion to Beer, in 1890 there were 500 domestic breweries in Switzerland. By 1998, there were only about 24 breweries left.
So what happened?
The market stalls in Bern are filled with late autumn fruit and the plums are holding court. If Zwetschgen is King, then his Queen is the tiny golden Mirabelle.
I've set my mirabelles to soak, using gin as my boozy base, and in a few weeks' time, there'll be boozy fruit for spooning over ice cream, as well as mirabelle infused gin, perfect for cocktails.