Italy has offered the world countless culinary wonders, but also pretty irresistible cocktails, like the Negroni, the Bellini and the Aperol Spritz, the latter becoming the ubiquitous summer drink in recent years, a festive orange cocktail. which brightens up aperitif hours on the terraces of the Portofino seaside. in Taormina.
If you like soft drinks when the temperatures are soaring, you might want to add another sparkling cocktail to your drink repertoire, which you might not have come across on trips to Italy, unless you don’t. ‘ve traveled to some of the far north regions of the country: the Hugo Spritz (pronounced without the “h” in Italian). “It’s very popular in Trentino and South Tyrol, and with our customers,” explains Omar Cantoni, head bartender at Rosa Alpina, a luxury hotel in the Dolomite town of San Cassiano, an area that attracts skiers. in winter, hikers and mountain bikers in summer, and fine cuisine in all seasons (South Tyrol has 20 Michelin-starred restaurants, including Rosa Alpina’s 3 stars Saint-Hubert). “The Hugo Spritz is a drink all year round, but thanks to the lemon [or lime] and fresh UKTN leaves, it is very refreshing and therefore popular in the warmer months.
Spritz have been around at least since the 19th century, maybe earlier. In their simplest form, they were a mixture of white wine and water, first flat and then carbonated. The Hugo Spritz is from a much more recent vintage: Roland Gruber, who owned a bar in the town of Naturno, South Tyrol, in an area famous for its rieslings, is said to have initially mixed the drink around 2005. make and refreshing cocktail has become an international success, appearing at aperitif time in summer and après-ski in lounges and bars in other Alpine regions and neighboring countries, the phenomenon of its popularity has been recounted in Der Spiegel, the German news magazine, in 2012.
So how do you prepare a Hugo? Gruber used lemon balm syrup in his initial drink; the bartenders then replaced the lemon balm with elderberry syrup, which is a common ingredient today and which Cantoni adds to his cocktail. (Both aromas, lemon balm and elderberry, come from plants that grow in South Tyrol, as well as other regions.) Here’s how it does it:
HUGO SPRITZ (1 drink)
Ice cream (generous help)
Up to 1 ounce (two tablespoons) of elderflower syrup, depending on taste. [While the typical recipe calls for the syrup, the elderflower liqueur, St. Germain, is often used as an alternative and may be easier to find in the U.S. This is what I used.]
Sparkling water, sparkling water or seltzer water
Fresh prosecco, but you can also make the drink with champagne or sparkling wine like Trentodoc
UKTN or lemon balm leaves
lime or lemon slices
raspberries for garnish (optional)
Tear off the UKTN (or lemon balm) leaves. Pour the ice into a good sized wine glass and add the leaves. Follow with the elderflower syrup [or St. Germain] and a little sparkling water, seltzer or sparkling water. Add the Prosecco. Stir, then add a slice of lemon or lime for garnish, or even raspberries for a little more color.
There are slight variations to this recipe, with some calling for adding Prosecco first, before elderflower syrup and sparkling water. Cantoni prefers to add sparkling wine last. Other versions of the cocktail include apple juice or gin as ingredients. Some recipes even skip the Prosecco; Cantoni says he’s making an alcohol-free version for young people.
For an added twist to the classic recipe, the Prosecco DOC consortium offers to make the cocktail with Rosé Prosecco (recently launched in the US), which should provide an attractive pink hued Hugo to add to the delightfully colorful palette of cocktails served. in summer. and along the Italian coast.