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 favourite 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).

A Hugo is a refreshing cocktail that's easy to make. Here's the recipe
A Hugo cocktail is not a German drink. It comes from the South Tyrol region in 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 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 wildfire through South Tyrol and into Austria and Germany.

A Hugo is made from Prosecco and accessorized with fresh peppermint making it similar to a Mojito. What gives it a distinct, a refreshing flavour is elderflower syrup

Hugos can be served in wine or cocktail glasses

I can’t think of any drink as refreshing as a Hugo!

 If you’re travelling in southern Germany, Austria or northern Italy this summer, I highly recommend trying it. Its 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. Let’s just say that’s an acquired taste. One that most people outside of the region don’t acquire.  

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.

An easy recipe for a Hugo cocktail

  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 sparkling water to dilute the alcohol if desired

You can also use alcohol-free Prosecco if you or your guests don’t drink.

Note, if you order it in a restaurant or cafe, it will contain alcohol.

I’d love to hear what you thought of a Hugo.

Let me know in the comments below.

Laurel Robbins is the founder of Monkeys and Mountains, an adventure travel blog and company that helps people plan their active holidays in a sustainable way. Although Canadian, she lives in Germany. You can find her in the mountains on most weekends.

A Hugo is a refreshing cocktail from South Tyrol in Italy. You can also find it in Austria and Germany. This mild cocktail is a crowd pleaser on hot days. Here's the easy Hugo recipe.


  1. Jenna April 13, 2012 at 4:14 pm - Reply

    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 April 13, 2012 at 6:33 pm - Reply

    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. Sue April 13, 2012 at 8:41 pm - Reply

    That looks so refreshing! Since we just had a dump of snow last night it makes me yearn for warmer weather!

  4. Zhu April 14, 2012 at 2:38 am - Reply

    It almost looks like tea with the mint!

  5. Adam April 14, 2012 at 1:26 pm - Reply

    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!

  6. Christy @ Technosyncratic April 14, 2012 at 5:49 pm - Reply

    Uhm, that’s not a HUGO cocktail, that’s a HUGE cocktail! Sorry, I couldn’t resist. 😛

  7. Tom Otomcio April 14, 2012 at 6:21 pm - Reply

    My wife’s response…..’Oooooooooooo, nice.’

    Me? Looks great too!


  8. Frau Dietz April 15, 2012 at 1:40 pm - Reply

    I love a mojito… so I am TOTALLY trying this!! I had never heard of it, but it sounds wonderfully refreshing 🙂

  9. German Gems April 15, 2012 at 4:38 pm - Reply

    I’ve never heard of this drink and don’t think I’ve ever seen it advertised. I will certainly look for it. It sounds like the perfect summer drink.

  10. Sabrina April 15, 2012 at 6:55 pm - Reply

    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?

  11. Andrew April 16, 2012 at 7:37 am - Reply

    I too have not heard of this cocktail. Sounds a bit inspired by the Italian apertivo drinks with Prosecco. I am kindof

  12. Andrew April 16, 2012 at 7:42 am - Reply

    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.

  13. [email protected] April 16, 2012 at 12:13 pm - Reply

    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!

  14. Leigh May 7, 2012 at 2:15 am - Reply

    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)?

    • Laurel September 12, 2012 at 10:44 am - Reply

      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.

  15. Andrew June 9, 2012 at 8:46 am - Reply

    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.

  16. jade July 23, 2012 at 6:42 pm - Reply

    OH, yum! Sounds delicious- I will drink anything with Prosecco in it!

  17. Jennifer August 2, 2012 at 10:30 pm - Reply

    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.

  18. Charu August 3, 2012 at 5:10 pm - Reply

    I love anything with mint and syrup! Absolutely delicious. Wonder how elderflower tastes like…

  19. Claudia August 3, 2013 at 10:24 am - Reply

    I love these, also without wine and mineralwater or ginger ale instead. Was a great hit at my last summer party.

    • Laurel August 12, 2013 at 9:56 pm - Reply

      @Claudia – I haven’t tried them with ginger ale, thanks for the suggestion. I love serving them at parties, always a hit.

  20. Frau Dietz August 27, 2013 at 5:11 am - Reply

    Haha – this totally confused me seeing my name on here!! I miss doing this 🙁 …but I love Hugos 🙂

  21. Bierwagen October 25, 2013 at 3:12 pm - Reply

    Yes, Germans like beer. I think you’d like that Bierwagen too 🙂

  22. Martha December 22, 2016 at 3:38 pm - Reply

    I love the Hugo, brought my syrup back from Germany to make this cocktail in sunny South Africa this summer. Definitely my favourite German drink. The Hot Hugo is equally amazing as a gluwein.

    • Laurel December 29, 2016 at 3:16 pm - Reply

      @Martha So smart, and I’m sure it will be a hit with your friends. Agreed, about the hot hugo. I like it even better than Glühwein.

  23. Alan March 24, 2017 at 6:14 pm - Reply

    it’s NOT a german drink, it’s italian! have you ever heard of prosecco? spritz?… all german stuff, right? LOL

    • Laurel March 27, 2017 at 9:46 am - Reply

      @Alan – Yep but the Germans like to take credit for it as you said :).

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