Don’t like Italy’s Aperol Spritz? Try a Hugo Spritz instead. Who knows? The refreshing Italian spritz may become your go-to aperitivo beverage.
Drinking Hugo Spritzes during a Mediterranean cruise motivated us to craft the sweet sipper at home.
Flavored with fresh mint and lime, the low-alcohol Hugo Spritz is a great alternative to stronger beverages. Not only does it taste like a dream, but it’s also ideal for pre-dinner aperitivo sessions, lazy afternoons and weekend brunches.
As a bonus, the Hugo Spritz fits right into our lazy mixology playbook. Spoiler Alert: Our Hugo Spritz cocktail recipe has just five ingredients (not counting ice) and requires no special tools or equipment.
History of the Hugo Spritz
The Hugo Spritz seems like it should be a classic cocktail, but its history is too short for this accolade. Roland Gruber invented the Hugo in 2005, so we consider the Italian spritz to be a ‘modern classic’.
We were initially disappointed to learn that the Hugo wasn’t invented by somebody named Hugo. However, there’s nothing disappointing about the sweet sipper that Gruber concocted with sparkling wine and a hyper local ingredient, elderflower syrup, at a South Tyrol bar.
Over the past decade, the Hugo Spritz’s popularity has spread from the Dolomites to Lake Garda, throughout Italy and beyond. If it’s up to us, it’s only a matter of time before the verdant, sweet Hugo Spritz rivals the more acerbic, bright orange Aperol Spritz at bars throughout the world.
Discover more of our favorite Italian cocktails.
What Is a Hugo Spritz?
The refreshing Hugo Spritz tastes like summer in a glass at any time of year. However, some people aren’t familiar with Roland Gruber’s Italian cocktail creation.
As for us, we first sipped Hugo Spritzes during a Trentino food trip in 2019. It was only a matter of time before we recreated the tasty tipple in our Lisbon kitchen.
We constructed our Hugo Spritz recipe using a 3:2:1 ratio of Prosecco, elderflower syrup and sparkling water. The elderflower syrup provides the drink’s sweet, fruity flavor while the Prosecco adds a bubbly kick. Fresh mint and lime give our Hugo a zippy yet herbal zing.
Hugo Spritz Ingredients
Since the Hugo Spritz’s ingredient list is as short and sweet as the drink itself, you’ll only need the following items to craft a one in your home:
Elderflower syrup and Prosecco are the Hugo Spritzes two main ingredients and the ones that might not be available at your local market. Sparkling water, limes and fresh mint should be easy to find.
Buy a bottle of elderflower syrup from Amazon.
Don’t skip crafting a Hugo if you can’t find these items or if you prefer a stronger drink. You can easily replace the Prosecco with another sparkling wine like Cava or Champagne. You can also use an elderflower liqueur like St. Germain as a potent syrup substitute.
How to Craft a Hugo Spritz Cocktail
To quote the Commodores song, crafting a Hugo Spritz is “easy like Sunday morning.” These are the only necessary tools we use in this Hugo Spritz cocktail recipe:
A Japanese Jigger is recommended but not required – you can use an angled measuring cup instead. However, we do recommend using a bar spoon since this particular cocktail tool can double as a muddler.
Discover 10 essential bar tools for home mixologists.
The first step in our Hugo Spritz recipe is to open the Prosecco bottle… carefully.
Be sure to direct the bottle away from your eyes and any lighting fixture before you pop the cork! But, seriously, it’s best to use both hands to open the bottle, twisting the cork while gently liberating it from the top.
Hold the bottle upright as well.
Drop a lime wheel and a few torn fresh mint leaves into a wine glass.
Muddle the lime wheel and mint leaves with the bottom of your bar spoon.
Next, fill the glass with ice cubes.
Measure the elderflower syrup and Prosecco. Pour each immediately into the wine glass as you measure them.
While you don’t need a shaker or mixing glass to craft a Hugo Spritz at home, we recommend using a Japanese Jigger for accurate measurements and easy pours.
Buy a Japanese jigger from Amazon if you don’t have one or if you want to make an inexpensive jigger upgrade.
Add a splash of sparkling water (approximately one ounce) and garnish with a mint sprig and lime wheel.
Start sipping immediately.
Hugo Spritz Alternatives
Crafting a Hugo Spritz cocktail is easy. However, if you’re missing any of the recipe’s ingredient or feel like experimenting, we recommend the following global options:
Hugo Spritz FAQs
The Hugo Spritz is a classic Italian spritz cocktail crafted with Prosecco, elderflower syrup and sparkling water in a 3:2:1 ratio.
The Hugo Spritz was invented in Italy.
Elderflower Syrup, Prosecco, Sparkling Water, Fresh Mint, Lime and Ice Cubes
The Hugo Spritz is stirred, not shaken.
We like to serve this cocktail in a wine glass and you should do the same.
Hugo Spritz Recipe
Craft a Hugo Spritz it just five minutes. It's sweeter than Italy's Aperol Spritz and tastes divine.
- 3 ounces Prosecco, chilled
- 2 ounces Elderflower Syrup
- 1 ounce sparkling water, chilled
- 3 mint leaves, torn
- 1 mint sprig for garnish
- 2 lime wheels
- ice cubes
- Muddle mint leaves and lime wheel in a wine glass.
- Fill glass with ice cubes.
- Add Elderflower Syrup and Prosecco. Gently stir.
- Add soda water plus a mint sprig and lime wheel for garnish.
- Drink immediately.
- Modify the Hugo Spritz's 3:2:1 ratio if you prefer a sweeter or less sweet version.
- Feel free to use Club Soda instead of Sparkling Water.
- Feel free to use Elderflower Liqueur instead of Elderflower Syrup.,
- Feel free to use a goblet or lowball glass instead.
- Drink the Hugo Spritz immediately before the ice melts and diminishes the flavor.
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About the Authors
Daryl & Mindi Hirsch
Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.
Original Publication Date: November 17, 2021