Hugo Spritz

5 from 2 votes

Meet the floral and herbal Hugo Spritz, a delicious refreshing twist on the classic spritz cocktail. This bubbly beverage features a delightful combination of muddled mint, elderflower liqueur, Prosecco and soda water, creating a light and fresh concoction perfect for spring gatherings.

A refreshing glass of mint-infused Hugo Spritz cocktail with a gold spoon on the side.

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Hugo Spritz recipe

You’ve heard of the Aperol spritz. Maybe even the Limoncello Spritz.

But have you heard of the Hugo Spritz? This elderflower prosecco cocktail from northern Italy is a delightful spring cocktail filled with fresh, herbal and floral flavors.

This light, refreshing and bubbly beverage might surpass the Aperol version and the Dirty Shirley as your new favorite summer cocktail. Grab a bottle of prosecco and let’s get into what a Hugo Spritz is, where it comes from and how to make it step-by-step.

More elderflower cocktail recipes: Elderflower French 75French Blonde CocktailBlack-Eyed Susan CocktailFrench Gimlet • Elderflower Gin Cocktail

Above view of a refreshing Hugo Spritz cocktail with ice cubes, surrounded by fresh mint leaves and a cocktail shaker on a white surface.

Why you’ll love this recipe

You are going to love these elderflower cocktails for a few main reasons.

  • You can skip the cocktail bars: With only four ingredients, the Hugo Spritz is easy to make at home.
  • It’s the perfect light and bubbly drink for springtime get-togethers.
  • The spritz a great way to get to know a new category of cocktails and spirits.

What is a spritz cocktail?

Spritz cocktails are a type of bubbly cocktail from Italy. They are often served as an early evening cocktail throughout the Italian summers.

Most well-known is the Aperol Spritz, which is a type of drink called the Venetian Spritz. It features any bitter spirit (known as an aperitivo in Italian), bubbly prosecco and sparkling water and is garnished with an orange slice.

The spritz has seen a surge in popularity in recent years, mainly via a marketing campaign of the spirit company Aperol.

A glass of Aperol Spritz cocktail with ice cubes and mint leaves on a white surface.

History of the Hugo Spritz

According to the book Spritz: Italy’s Most Iconic Aperitivo Cocktail by Talia Baiocchi and Leslie Pariseau, the Hugo Spritz cocktail hails from the Italian province of South Tyrol near the Italian-Austrian border.

Bartender Roland Gruber invented it in the mid-2000s and the drink is still popular today. An Italian company now sells it bottled as a ready-to-drink beverage, but the original is still loved in Austria and Germany.

Gruber’s original recipe called for lemon simple syrup, but these days, the recipe calls for sciroppo de sambuco — the Italian name for elderflower syrup, which is also called acqua santa, or holy water. But in the United States, fresh elderflowers and elderflower syrup are much less common, so the American version includes a splash of St-Germain elderflower liqueur.

A hand stirring a refreshing Hugo Spritz cocktail with a golden spoon.

Tools & glassware

To mix up the drink, you’ll beed a basic bar set with a jigger and a bar spoon. You’ll also need a muddler.

The Aperol website suggests “a stemmed balloon glass” for the Aperol Spritz, which means it should have a wide, round shape, like a red wine glass.

There are also spritz glasses that are designed specifically for spritz cocktails. Personally, I like to use stemless wine glasses because they are less likely to topple over.

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A glass of Hugo Cocktail with mint leaves on a white background, with a bottle of elderflower and another glass partially visible in the background.

Ingredients

Here’s what you need to make a Hugo Spritz at home:

  • elderflower liqueur: St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur is the most popular brand, though others are on the market, including Bols, Fiorente and Chase.
  • mint sprig: You’ll need fresh mint leaves to muddle (about 8-10 mint leaves per cocktail) plus fresh mint sprigs to decorate each glass with.
  • Prosecco: Prosecco is from Italy, whereas champagne is French (and so is St-Germain). Though Prosecco is most fitting for this Italian cocktail, you can use any kind of dry sparkling wine, such as Spanish cava or champagne. Look for “dry,” “brut” or “extra brut” on the label.
  • soda water: Go for a club soda or plain seltzer water for a light flavor that lets the elderflower liqueur and prosecco shine.

Garnishes

There are two traditional garnishes for the Hugo Spritz:

  • fresh mint sprigs
  • lemon wheel

You can make the garnish your own, though. Do mint only (like me) or do them all. Pierce lemon slices with a cocktail pick or add a lemon twist to the drink along with a bouquet of fresh mint. Lime slices would also work. Do you!

How to make a Hugo Spritz

Here’s how to make this easy Hugo Spritz recipe:

Pouring cocktail into a glass with leaves at the bottom.
Pouring a liquid into a glass containing mint leaves and elderflower.

In a large wine glass, muddle together the mint sprig with the elderflower liqueur. Let it rest for a few minutes to infuse the mint’s essential oils of the mint into the liqueur.

Tip: Just before dropping it into your syrup infusion, hold the sage leaves in one hand and clap your other hand on top of them to “spank” them. This process helps to release the essential oils and fragrances for a more aromatic syrup.

A hand placing an ice cube into a glass with a clear Hugo Spritz and sliced limes.
Pouring a clear Hugo Spritz into a glass of ice and mint leaves.

Top with ice cubes. Then add the Prosecco and a splash of soda water.

A hand stirring a refreshing Hugo Spritz cocktail with a golden spoon.
A person garnishing a glass of Hugo Spritz with a sprig of mint.

Stir gently. Garnish with a lemon wheel and a mint sprig.

Tips & tricks

Make this recipe even better with these tips:

  • Chill the prosecco and club soda until you’re ready to use it.
  • Pour champagne last, and slowly too. As it bubbles and fizzes over the other ingredients, it’s easier to gauge how much to fill the glasses.
  • The garnishes add fragrance and intensify the drinking experience. To make the drink really shine, add a lemon twist or dehydrated lemon slice and double the mint garnish for a more robust, fresh aroma.
  • Add a flower ice cube with spring flowers or fresh elderflowers suspended inside.
A glass of Hugo Spritz, a mint-infused beverage with ice cubes, accompanied by a cocktail spoon and a jigger on a white background.

Food pairings

Enjoy them with a cheesy and fruity appetizer like a charcuterie board. Caprese skewers and Italian white bean hummus would also be delicious savory pairings.

For dinner, serve it with Italian-inspired dishes like penne rosa or pizza pinwheels. Finish up your Italian meal with another fitting cocktail like an espresso martini or a tiramisu martini.

You can also enjoy these bright cocktails with springtime flavors, such as:

When to serve them

The Hugo Spritz is a versatile cocktail. It’s elegant enough for dinner parties and easy enough for a casual night at home. Italians drink spritzes in the early evening, so they go well with appetizers.

With bubbly prosecco, it’s a great drink for celebrating anything, such as:

  • spring and summer dinner parties
  • Easter brunch
  • bachelorette parties
  • engagement parties
  • birthday parties
  • bridal showers and baby showers
Two glasses of iced Hugo Spritz with gold-colored utensils on a white surface.

FAQ

Can I use champagne or another sparkling wine instead of Prosecco?

Champagne and other types of sparkling wine, like cava, are mainly different from Prosecco in origin and the type of grape used. They generally are very similar so it’s okay to substitute, but be sure to stick to a dry sparkling wine that says “dry” or “brut” on the label.

What can I use instead of elderflower liqueur?

You can substitute elderflower syrup or elderflower cordial instead of elderflower liqueur. The original Hugo Spritz recipe called for lemon syrup, so you could try that as well. A lemon balm syrup would also add a great taste.

What is the difference between the Aperol Spritz and the Hugo Spritz?

Both of these spritz cocktails come from Italy and feature bubbly prosecco and soda water, but their alcoholic bases are quite different. The Aperol Spritz is made with a bittersweet apéritif called Aperol, while the Hugo Spritz features fresh mint muddled with elderflower liqueur such as St-Germain. The Aperol Spritz has a bitter flavor, while the Hugo Spritz is sweeter and lighter.

More prosecco cocktails

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Two glasses of iced Hugo Spritz with gold-colored utensils on a white surface.

Hugo Spritz Cocktail

Yield: 1 cocktail
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Make the refreshing Hugo Spritz Cocktail. It's herbal, floral and bubbly and perfect for spring and summer.
5 from 2 votes
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ingredients

  • ½ ounce elderflower liqueur such as St-Germain
  • 8-10 leaves fresh mint plus a sprig for garnish
  • 4 ounces prosecco or other sparkling wine
  • 1 ounce soda water
  • 1 sprig mint for garnish
  • 1 lemon wheel for garnish

instructions

  • In a wine glass, muddle together the mint sprig with the elderflower liqueur. Let it rest for a few minutes to infuse the mint’s essential oils of the mint into the liqueur.
  • Top with ice, then Prosecco and a splash of soda water. Stir gently.
  • Garnish with a lemon wheel and a mint sprig.

notes

Before adding it to the glass and muddling, clap the mint leaves between your hands to invigorate the essential oils and aromas. 
Chill the prosecco and club soda until you’re ready to use it.
Pour champagne last, and slowly too. As it bubbles and fizzes over the other ingredients, it’s easier to gauge how much to fill the glasses.
The garnishes add fragrance and intensify the drinking experience. To make the drink really shine, add a lemon twist or dehydrated lemon slice and double the mint garnish for a more robust, fresh aroma.

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nutrition information

Yield: 1 cocktail

amount per serving:

Serving: 5.5ounces Calories: 107kcal Carbohydrates: 7g Protein: 0.1g Sodium: 14mg Potassium: 103mg Fiber: 0.03g Sugar: 7g Vitamin A: 17IU Vitamin C: 0.1mg Calcium: 13mg Iron: 0.5mg
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