Summer has definitely arrived in Switzerland and there are two cocktails that I always look forward to enjoying in these warm months. These two cocktails are also ones I was only introduced to when I moved to Europe and they both happen to consist of Prosecco (my libation of choice all year round): the classic Aperol Spritz and the Hugo.
The Hugo is a refreshing cocktail, which consists of Prosecco, Elderflower Syrup, Mineral Water, Fresh Lemon and Fresh Mint. And it’s even better when you make your own Elderflower Syrup (Holunderblütensirup).
Elderflower comes from the plant Samubucus and a delightful floral syrup can be made from its flowers, which bloom at the beginning of the summer. For those in Switzerland, these flowers are coming to their season end now, but you might be able to find them blossoming at a higher altitude. If you can’t find Elderflower in bloom anymore, you can find the syrup in almost any Swiss grocery store and if you are in the U.S., you can typically find it in a specialty grocery shop or at Ikea.
Here is my Hugo cocktail recipe along with my mother-in-law’s Elderflower-Lemon syrup recipe. Cheers!
HUGO COCKTAIL INGREDIENTS (1 serving):
small handful of ice cubes
1/8 cup Elderflower-Lemon Syrup (3 cl) – see below for recipe (or use store-bought Elderflower Syrup)
1 cup brut Prosecco (200 ml)
1/2 cup Sparkling Mineral Water (100 ml)
Fresh mint leaves (approx. 2-3 leaves)
Splash of fresh lemon juice
Slice of lemon for garnish
- Place ice cubes in a wine glass or any glass of your choice.
- Pour the Elderflower Syrup over the ice.
- Pour in the Prosecco followed by the Sparkling Mineral Water.
- Squeeze the juice of a lemon wedge and add in fresh mint leaves.
- Stir well to incorporate the ingredients.
- Garnish with a lemon slice.
- The ratio of syrup to Prosecco to Mineral Water can of course be altered to your liking
ELDERFLOWER-LEMON SYRUP INGREDIENTS (approx. 3 L):
15 cups granulated white sugar (3 kg)
1.5 L water
15 heads of Elderflower
2 whole lemons
3.5 tbsp citric acid (50 g)
- Pour the sugar and water into a large pot and gently heat the mixture on high until all the sugar has dissolved and slightly under a boil. Continuously stir.
- While the mixture is heating, cut the heads of your Elderlower and brush any excess dirt off the blossoms.
- Pare the zest from your lemons using a vegetable peeler and then slice the lemons into thick round slices.
- Take the sugar water mixture off the heat and add in your Elderflower heads, lemon zest and slices and then the citric acid.
- Stir well and place a tight lid onto your pot and let it sit outside (does not have to be shaded) for up to 48 hours.
- After this time, filter the syrup through a coffee filter and repeat process if necessary to make sure the syrup is clear.
- Using a funnel, pour the syrup into sterilized bottles.
- Store the bottles away in a cool shaded area such as a cellar. They will keep for up to 4-6 months.
- You can omit the citric acid if you will want to use the syrup right away. Just make sure to store it in the refrigerator.
- Make sure the elderflower blossoms are yellow in color (almost powdery) which is indication of their mature blossom.