This Hugo Spritz Cocktail recipe is made with St-Germain elderflower liqueur that is muddled with mint leaves and topped with prosecco and sparkling soda water. It’s the ultimate refreshing and light drink with a sweet, floral, and effervescent flavor. Plus, it only takes 5 minutes and can easily be batched for serving a crowd.
I’m a big fan of Italian spritzes, so you should also check out my Limoncello Spritz or Martini Royale if you also enjoy this Hugo cocktail recipe. Or, if you’re after more elderflower cocktails, you might also like my Elderflower Gin and Tonic or Lemon Elderflower Sour.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- It’s an easy cocktail recipe – this delicious cocktail requires no fancy equipment and ingredients that are easily found in any liquor or grocery store.
- It’s flexible – it can be made for one or it can be batched for an entire crowd, so it’s a natural choice for both a solo cocktail or for entertaining your friends and family.
- It is a low-alcohol beverage – if you have trouble with hangovers or just don’t care for stronger drinks, this cocktail is for you. St-Germain and other elderflower liqueurs have a lower ABV (alcohol by volume) than vodka, gin, etc. even when it’s topped with sparkling prosecco wine. Low ABV cocktails are perfect for warm weather!
What is a Hugo Spritz?
A Hugo Spritz is an elderflower and mint-infused, effervescent cocktail that hails from northern Italy. Specifically, it comes from South Tyrol, which is located in the Italian Alps, just below the southern Austrian border. This Italian aperitivo (pre-dinner drink) was created by Roland Gruber in 2005 as an alternative to Aperol Spritz cocktails that are popular in Venice. Spritz cocktails tend to be light cocktails and are perfect for a hot day.
Early versions of the original recipe used lemon balm syrup, but that was replaced by elderflower syrup, and later St. Germain elderflower liqueur. The name was originally called Otto Spritz but later changed to Hugo Spritz.
This Hugo Spritz recipe is one of my favorite Italian cocktails. I drank many last Summer while I was traveling through northern and central Italy. The one above was enjoyed at a little cafe in Florence – it was a blazing hot summer afternoon and it was a very welcomed refreshing drink.
- Fresh mint leaves– You definitely want to use fresh mint here, not the dried stuff. If you don’t have mint on hand, fresh basil will work as well.
- Elderflower liqueur – One of the most popular brands of elderflower liqueur is St. Germain liqueur. Another brand is St. Elder, which is just a little cheaper. Both have a great flavor, and I regularly use both. There is just a minor variation of flavor and texture.
- Prosecco – Make sure that you opt for a dry or brut prosecco. Any dry sparkling wine like a dry or brut cava works as well. Using a different sparkling wine, like Spanish cava, might make the cocktail a little “less Italian” since prosecco is an Italian sparkling white wine. Choose a bottle of prosecco that is less than $20 – save the expensive stuff for drinking on its own.
- Soda water – Plain seltzer works great, but if you want some extra flavor a flavored sparkling water like grapefruit, lime, or lemon flavored would also work. I typically make my own seltzer water in my SodaStream. Club soda is another good option.
- Lemon slices and/or extra mint for garnish – This is optional, and lime slices will also work if you don’t have any lemons on hand.
For an even lower ABV cocktail, try making a homemade elderflower syrup (sometimes called “elderflower cordial”) can replace elderflower liqueur in this recipe as it was used in one of the original variations of the recipe.
Store-bought elderflower syrups aren’t as readily available in the U.S., but you can find elderflower syrup on Amazon. On the opposite side, if you prefer a stronger drink, you can easily add a shot of gin or vodka.
Steps 1-2: Add the mint and elderflower liqueur to a large wine glass.
Steps 3-4: Gently muddle the mint and elderflower liqueur together in the bottom of a large wine glass, then add ice cubes.
Steps 5-6: Top with bubbly prosecco and seltzer water.
Garnish with a few lemon slices and a sprig of mint, if using.
Why is it called a Hugo Spritz?
No one is sure – it was a randomly chosen name. The drink was originally called an Otto Spritz but later changed to Hugo Spritz.
What does elderflower liqueur taste like?
Elderflower liqueur is always sweet and lightly floral. St-Germain and St-Elder both have notes of sweet citrus, floral, and honey. St-Germain has a slightly thicker, viscous texture and mouthfeel than St-Elder. Another delightful floral tasting spritz is my Italicus Spritz cocktail.
Can you drink elderflower liqueur straight?
Yes, you can definitely do that. It is very sweet, so take that into account when you pour yourself a shot. It has a delicious and delicate flavor all on its own.
Can I make a large batch of Hugo Spritzes? And, can I make it in advance?
I have full measurements and instructions listed in the recipe card below for making enough for up to 8 cocktails. To make ahead, you can muddle the mint and elderflower liqueur together and refrigerate, then add the prosecco and seltzer water right before serving to make sure that the Hugo Spritz doesn’t go flat.
What is the difference between a Hugo and Aperol Spritz?
A Hugo cocktail typically combines elderflower syrup or liqueur, Prosecco, sparkling water, and fresh mint, offering a floral and lightly sweet flavor. In contrast, an Aperol Spritz is made with Aperol, Prosecco, and soda water, characterized by its bittersweet taste and vibrant orange color.
While both drinks are refreshing and effervescent, the key difference lies in their flavor profiles: the Hugo’s floral sweetness versus the Aperol Spritz’s bitter citrus notes.
Did you love this cocktail?
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Hugo Spritz Cocktail Recipe
- 3-4 mint leaves
- 2 ounces elderflower liqueur (suggest St. Germain or St. Elder)
- 3 ounces prosecco dry or brut
- 1 ounce seltzer water
- Lemon slices and/or mint slices for garnish optional
- Add mint leaves and elderflower liqueur to a large wine glass.
- Gently muddle the mint and elderflower liqueur with a muddler or the back of a spoon.
- Add ice, then top with prosecco and seltzer water.
- Add lemon slices and extra mint, if using.
- 25-30 mint leaves
- 2 cups elderflower liqueur
- 1 bottle Prosecco (750 ml)
- 1 cup seltzer water
- Lemon slices and/or extra mint for garnish, optional
- In a pitcher than can hold at least 50 ounces, add the mint leaves. Top with elderflower liqueur.
- Using a muddler or large spoon, muddle mint and elderflower liqueur together in the bottom of the pitcher.
- Top with prosecco and seltzer water.
- Gently stir and add the lemon slices and/or mint, if using.
- Add to cocktail glasses filled with ice.