Hugo cocktail recipe

Stuart Forster provides the definitive Hugo cocktail recipe.

The Hugo, if you haven’t already been introduced, is a light, refreshing cocktail that has a reputation for being sophisticated. It’s proven popular in Germany for the past couple of summers.

I can tell by the dumbstruck faces around me that people are more than a tad surprised when I admit I haven’t yet tasted a Hugo. Why would I? Whenever I travel in Germany I tend to try local beers. Though cocktails aren’t normally my thing I’m considering ordering a Hugo, having heard nothing but praise for them.

The Opelbad on the Neroberg

“It’s kind of chic and trendy,” says Charlotte about the Hugo’s image as we sit on the terrace of the Restaurant Wagner at the Opelbad, overlooking Wiesbaden. The Bauhaus-style heated swimming pool on the Neroberg dates from 1934 and, along with the nearby Monopteros, offers one best panoramas of the historic spa town.

“Beer and wine are traditional drinks that I still enjoy but the Hugo is fashionable and it`s always nice to have new and exciting things in addition to the traditional,” says Charlotte, perhaps sensing that I need a final, tiny nudge to order one.

A chic, Prosecco-based cocktail

The Hugo, I learn, started life in Italy, with Prosecco as its base. In Germany, Hugos are normally made using Sekt, dry white sparkling wine, as the main ingredient.

I turn as the waiter approaches, alerted by the Hugos’ ice cubes ringing against the sides of the long-stalked glasses.

“Prost!” says Charlotte, using the traditional German term for “cheers” and we clink glasses while carefully looking each other in eyes, as is the custom here in Germany.

The drink does indeed live up to its hype. The dominant flavour of the Hugo is elderflower, with a hint of mint and lime. It’s a refreshing summer drink.

A refreshing summer drink

“The Hugo is very easy to make,” says Charlotte when I comment this is something I might recreate back at home, adding, “there are different ways of making it, but I normally use sparkling white wine, sparkling water, elderflower syrup, mint leaves and ice cubes.”

There’s no need for any specialist cocktail-making equipment. So could this drink be the ideal accompaniment to matches during the 2014 World Cup?

Hugo cocktail recipe

Mix together the following ingredients and serve in a large, long-stemmed glass:

100ml Riesling Sekt (sparkling white wine)

50ml sparkling mineral water

25ml elderflower syrup

A twist of fresh lime

A sprig of fresh mint

Ice cubes

Further information

Find out more about the city on the Wiesbaden Tourism website. See the Kulturland Rheingau website to learn more about attractions in the Rhineland region.

For more about things to do and see in the country as a whole, see the Germany Travel website.

Photos illustrating this post are by Stuart Forster.

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The view from the Neroberg in Wiesbaden, Germany.
The view from the Neroberg in Wiesbaden, Germany.


  • Lauren

    July 17, 2014 at 17:30 Reply

    I have never heard of this. It does sound very refreshing! Going to have to give it a try – thanks.

    • Stuart

      July 27, 2014 at 07:26 Reply

      Glad to have provided an idea for you to try out, Lauren.

  • Carole B Martin

    September 3, 2017 at 16:33 Reply

    Had some in Switzerland recently and wonder where I can purchase it in the States. Loved it. I live in New York and close to New York City

    • Stuart Forster

      September 3, 2017 at 18:57 Reply

      Hello Carole, I agree, it is delicious. I have never seen a pre-made Hugo. Why not source the individual ingredients and invite friends around?

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