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The Hugo cocktail is a bubbly Italian spritz made with elderflower liqueur and Prosecco! It’s the perfect refreshing drink.

Hugo cocktail

This cocktail might be the literal definition of refreshing. If you love bubbly spritzes, run don’t walk to try the Hugo cocktail! This Italian cocktail is a spin-off on the Aperol spritz and even better, in our opinion. It’s made with delicate floral elderflower liqueur and bubbly Prosecco, which compliment each other perfectly. The bubbly combination transports you right to Northern Italy, where this cocktail was born and is popular to this day. Here’s more about its history and how to make this beautiful drink!

What’s a Hugo cocktail?

The Hugo cocktail is a spritz cocktail made with Prosecco, elderflower syrup and soda water. The drink was invented in 2005 by Roland Gruber in Northern Italy (the South Tyrol region just south of Austria). He created the drink as an alternative to the classic Aperol spritz, and it quickly spread across the country and into Europe. After giving it a taste, we can see why! The Hugo is light and floral, accented with the delicate bubbles of Prosecco. Where its cousin the Aperol spritz is sweet and citrusy, this spin is more refined and even more refreshing.

We made one edit to the ingredient list for the Hugo cocktail. It’s easy to find elderflower syrup in Europe. But here in the US it’s easier to get your hands on a bottle of St Germain, which is elderflower liqueur. So it’s a natural substitute! Here’s what you’ll need to make a Hugo cocktail:

  • St Germain elderflower liqueur
  • Prosecco or other sparkling wine
  • Soda water
  • Fresh mint
Hugo cocktail

More about St Germain!

The key to this Hugo spritz cocktail is the elderflower liqueur, which infuses a delicate floral flavor throughout the drink. St Germain is one of our favorite unique liquors to stock in our pantry. Here’s a bit more about it:

  • St Germain is a liqueur that’s made with elderflowers, the small white flowers of an elderberry plant. The flavor is light, sweetly floral, and fragrant.
  • How do you say St Germain? The name is French, so say “Sahn-jer-MAHN” with your best French accent.
  • Fun fact: it’s relatively new to the scene. Get this: St Germain was invented in 2007! The vintage-looking bottle makes it seem like it has hundreds of years of history. But a guy named Rob invented it in the 2007. (Here’s the story behind it.)
  • How much does it cost? That beautiful bottle will set you back about $20 to $30.
  • What other cocktails can you make? Try the French Gimlet and all our Best St Germain Cocktail recipes.
Hugo cocktail

Prosecco & more sparkling wines

Traditionally a Hugo cocktail uses Prosecco, the Italian version of champagne. But you can use any type of sparkling wine you like! Make sure it is “Brut,” which means that it is dry. Here’s a breakdown of the major types of sparkling wine including Prosecco vs Champagne:

  • Prosecco: Italian sparkling wine. It’s a slightly sweeter than champagne and has lighter bubbles. It’s fruity and flowery, with notes of apple, pear and lemon.
  • Champagne: French sparkling wine. It tastes bubbly and fruity, with undertones of almond and orange. It’s typically the most expensive sparkling wine.
  • Cava: Spanish sparkling wine. It has more citrus notes, and is a little more savory and less fruity.

How to make a Hugo cocktail

The Hugo cocktail is so easy to make: you don’t even have to dirty a cocktail shaker! The spritz family of drinks is fantastic because you simply pour the ingredients into a glass. Here are the basic steps (or skip to the recipe):

  • Stir: Stir the St Germain in a glass with ice to make it cold.
  • Top with bubbles: Add the Prosecco and soda water.
  • Garnish: Add the fresh mint and serve.

And that’s it! Let us know if you try the Hugo spritz and what you think in the comments below.

More spritz recipes

There are lots of members of the spritz family! The Aperol spritz is the most popular, but try these other types of spritz recipes to enjoy bubbly drinks all season long:

Hugo spritz cocktail

When to serve the Hugo

The Hugo cocktail is bubbly and refreshing, perfect for summer but you can drink it all year round. Try it as a:

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Hugo cocktail

Hugo Cocktail

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x


The Hugo cocktail is a bubbly Italian spritz made with elderflower liqueur and Prosecco! It’s the perfect refreshing drink.


  • 1 ounces (2 tablespoons) St Germain liqueur (chilled if possible)
  • 3 ounces (6 tablespoons) Prosecco or other sparkling wine, chilled
  • 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) soda water
  • Ice, for serving (try clear ice!)
  • For the garnish: fresh mint


  1. Add the St Germain to a glass filled with ice and stir.
  2. Top with the sparkling wine and soda water. Add mint and serve. 
  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Stirred
  • Cuisine: European
  • Diet: Vegan

Keywords: Hugo cocktail

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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    1. Hi! It would be delightful with some raspberries or strawberries as garnish (along with some citrus).