When you study abroad, people tell you that your life will be changed forever. You’ll see ancient architecture and experience different cultures first-hand. You’ll climb mountains and travel anywhere a cheap flight can take you. You’ll enjoy unheard of culinary creations and take thousands of pictures. And while all of this was very much true for me, there was one thing I gained from my time abroad that was both unexpected and undermined the life changing qualities of every other activity I undertook: I drank a Hugo.
As a freshly 21-year-old person, partaking in my very first aperitif in Florence, Italy, I was unsure of what beverage to order at the bar. One of my companions, an advisor at the university I was studying at, suggested I order a Hugo. So what’s a Hugo? And why does that night in mid-January mean so much to me?
A Hugo, as presented to me in that bar, is a heavenly mixture of elderflower liqueur, prosecco, a virtual bouquet of mint, a couple slices of lime and a douse of soda water. It is by far the tastiest and most enjoyable cocktail I have ever had. It has since caused me to invest heavily in two bottles of St. Germaine and two bottles of St. Elder, which is both cheaper and has basically the same taste.
And while I fell deeply in love with this cocktail and pushed its magnificent flavor on nearly all of my friends, I have found a couple of ways to perfect it. Namely, I disregard the soda water entirely. For all it’s worth, it just waters down a delicious drink and prevents it from its alcoholic potential. I also squeeze the limes before tossing them into the drink, in order to better unlock their citrus flavor.
That being said, it’s hard to make this drink wrong. Every aspect of it is delicious on its own. I love the taste of a freshly-popped bottle of prosecco. I have drunk that by itself a number of times with friends. I also love the flavors of mint and lime — they’re refreshing and summery. But, and this may shock some people, I also found that elderflower liqueur is scrumptious on its own. It smells like a high-end perfume and tastes like — or at least, it tastes like how I imagine — the very nectar bees sip straight from a flower. Combining these flavors, even combining them disproportionately, will always create a wonderful drink.
What are the alcohol levels of this drink? If you’re a light-weight like me, they’re fairly decent. Prosecco typically weighs in at an alcohol content of 12.5%, while elderflower liqueur weighs in at 20%. When you take away the soda water, the drink only gets stronger. As such, to get tipsy you really only need one or two glasses. But since it tastes incredible, I’m sure you will probably indulge in more.
Since this drink is also rather classy, it can be made for anything: a wedding, a baby shower, a graduation party — you name it. So, go! Impress your friends and family, or just yourself, with this life changing experience of a cocktail.