A Hugo: The Most Refreshing Cocktail You’ll Ever Have

My favourite drink in Germany is surprisingly not beer, but a Hugo Cocktail.

Don’t get me wrong, I like German beer, but the problem is I can’t drink most of it since I have celiac disease (a gluten allergy).  Don’t feel too sorry for me though, because I’m quite happy with my new favorite drink – a Hugo cocktail.  I had never heard of a Hugo cocktail until I moved to Germany, but now I’m addicted (well not literally).
hugo cocktail drink in germany and recipe for a hugo, a refreshing summer drinkA Hugo cocktail is actually not a German drink, it comes from the South Tyrol region of northern Italy.  You can’t blame the Germans for wanting to take credit for it though! You will find it in many cafes and bars in southern Germany, Austria and in South Tyrol, especially in summer!

According to Mixology magazine, The Hugo was created in 2005 in the Italian town of Naturno by bartender Roland Gruber. It was invented as an alternative to spritz, and spread like wildflower through South Tyrol and into Austria and Germany.

A Hugo is made from Prosecco and with its fresh peppermint leaves it  is similar to a Mojito. What gives it a distinct, yet refreshing flavour is elderflower syrup.  I can’t think of any drink as refreshing as a Hugo!  If you’re traveling in southern Germany. Austria  or northern Italy this summer I highly recommend trying it. It’s mild taste is a crowd pleaser for almost everyone who tries it! In fact, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like the taste.  It’s not like Trollinger, a wine produced from the Württemberg region in SW Germany, which let’s just….is an acquired taste that is not acquired by many people not from the region!

Alternatively, you can also make a Hugo at home and serve to guests.  They’re incredibly simple to make, and you can whip one up in a matter of seconds.

Recipe for a Hugo Cocktail

  • Prosecco
  • Splash of elderflower syrup to taste
  • A few fresh peppermint or spearmint leaves rubbed to release their aromatic oil
  • Top with a slice of lime
  • Optional – add a splash of sparking water to dilute the alcohol if desired

You can also use alcohol Prosecco if you or your guests don’t drink. Note, if you order it in a restaurant or cafe, the alcohol version is served.

PROST! As they say in German!


  1. says

    Sounds refreshing. I used to love beer and enjoyed trying it when I was in Germany (and plenty in the Czech Republic, of course), but now I enjoy lots of other types of drinks, so I’m sure I’d love this one. Anything with mint is yummy.

  2. Andrea says

    Mmmmm – how have I never heard of this before? Even sadder that I didn’t come across one in Germany (I guess we were too busy with the beer). Sounds soooo good!

  3. says

    Oh yumm! I haven’t heard of this cocktail and I don’t think I’ve seen it in Berlin. The zombie cocktail is really popular in Berlin, but it’s best feature is that it gets you really drunk!

  4. Sabrina says

    Hmmm, that sounds really good. I’ve never heard of it before, but love the idea of mixing mint with Prosecco. Does the Ederflower make it kind of sweet?

  5. says

    It sounds somewhat inspired by the italian apertivo drinks with prosecco mixed with something else. I am kind of surprised how often Sekt and such show up in German society. I guess I shouldn’t be but it was not expected that so much is celebrated with alcohol especially at the office. Guess that is the alcohol isevil mentality at home.
    Elderberry flavor is quite popular. I just think of MontyPython.

    I hadn’t heard of this cocktail but ill look next time we go out.

  6. says

    Mmmm, anything with Prosecco as a base sounds delightful. Will have to see whether elderflower syrup is an option here in the Netherlands. But fear not, easy enough to make a minor adjustment!

  7. Leigh says

    I am a fellow Canadian and celiac considering relocating to Germany ( near Frankfurt) for work. How do you find Germany restaurants and shops for gluten-free? I haven’t spent much time there. How does it compare to say the UK (excellent) or France (not as good/knowledgeable but ok if you speak the language and can explain)?

    • says

      Hi Leigh, German restaurants are difficult since flour and bread are used in a lot of the dishes. The good news is that you can ask if something is “Gluten-frei” (gluten free), so it’s pronounced similarly as in English. At German restaurants I usually end up eating potato salad, or a steak. Other restaurants like Thai or Indian are much easier. For shopping, you can buy gluten free products in the health food stores easily and Rewe (a grocery store chain) just started carrying a small selection of gluten-free products. In Munich there are 3 restaurants serving gluten free pizza. Fast food is much harder since it’s usually a pretzel or pastry of some sort. I usually carry something around with me, but find the gluten free options for fast food are much better in the UK or France. Hope that helps, best of luck.

  8. says

    We were at a wedding last weekend and saw these. I had literally never heard of them before your post and now I see them everywhere. I’m sure they were always there, but now i notice.

  9. says

    This sounds delicious! I am definitely going to try a Hugo. I wonder if they serve them in northern Italy where I’m at? We’re close to Austria.

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