Hugo Starts Summer
By Alexander Summerfield, Senior Bartender
As the long summer days stretch into warm and welcoming nights, the eloquent terrace gardens of Europe begin to open their doors. On the edge of this transition is the desire to set and start a new drinking phenomena - just like the first person to introduce a Martini or the first time a Negroni was made on the British Isles. As the tranquil shift from spring to summer begins, I feel this is the perfect moment to audition all of those wonderful concoctions and libations and crown the possible king of spring and summer drinks.
As a bon vivant spending time in Germany and Italy last year, I came across a parochial cocktail named Hugo. Served in a wine glass and accompanied by ice, mint, elderflower, lemon and prosecco, this simple but effective drink stood by my side through my travels. The drink's roots derive near South Tyrol where it was originally made at the wine and cocktail bar Sanzeno by Roland Gruber in 2005.
Hugo is a light yet sweet fizzed cocktail, revealing notes of freshly picked mint. As well as being easily accessible, this remedy is surely a number one spring contender and bank holiday drink while also working as an all-day aperitif. Though more unknown compared to its fellow counterpart, Aperol Spritz, Hugo's growing popularity proves it's a strong contender, with Aperol Spritz sweeping the globe in recent years, I wouldn't be surprised if Hugo follows the same path.
This cocktail brings fantastic symbolic gestures of nature while embedded in a sweet, sparkling disposition. The complete epitome of relaxation and absolute serendipity, this drink, in my eyes, is a 2016 summer winner. So if you're looking for a fresh and vibrant new drink for the start of summer, look no further than Hugo.
If you're sticking to the regime of Dry January, then perhaps Heinrich, Hugo's younger brother, is for you. Replacing prosecco with fever tree soda and sticking with the combination of mint, elderflower cordial and lemon, its versatility continues to shine.
So the next time you're walking down the famous Annabel's stairs and begin to think about what you would like to drink, remember these words and toast the new season with a Hugo or Heinrich.