Hugo is one of Switzerland's (and my mother-in-law's) favourite summer drinks.
It was the invention of Roland Gruber, 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.
Other than a bit of notoriety, Gruber didn't really get any compensation for creating what would become one of the most ubiquitous drinks in the German speaking realm. By 2010 it had spread from Sylt to Schwyz and and was a standard summer cocktail at bars, restaurants and hotels.
The ingredients had changed slightly, with many bartenders preferring Holunderblütensirup (elderflower syrup), adding lime, and some replacing the Prosecco with white wine or champagne.
Today it remains a refreshing classic, and on a warm summer's day (or any day for that matter) my mother-in-law will order it without fail.
elderflower syrup (recipe here)
Muddle 3-4 mint leaves and put them in a wine glass.
Cover with ice cubes.
Add 1-2 tablespoons of elderflower syrup.
Top with Prosecco/sparkling wine and a spritz of water. Stir.
Garnish with lime (adding a spritz if desired).
- Gruber's original recipe uses 150 ml Prosecco and is then topped with sparkling water, but you can alter this as you see fit.
- Gruber also prefers lemon balm syrup, using 20 ml in his recipe.
- I made the mistake of putting the mint on top of the ice. It should go under or you will get a mouthful of leaves.
- My cocktail-savvy friend Christina suggests chopping a bit of the mint into oblivion and adding this to the drink for a real hit of refreshment.