In their book Spritz: Italy’s Most Iconic Aperitivo Cocktail, Talia Baiocchi and Leslie Pariseau draw inspiration from the lighter side of the cocktail spectrum. To deepen their understanding of the Spritz, the authors embarked on a 10-day road trip in a tiny Fiat 500 coupe across northern Italy, from Venice to Milan to Turin.
Traveling along the unofficial “Spritz Trail” of Italy, the authors describe how the Spritz—basically a combination of three parts prosecco, two parts bitter liqueur, such as Aperol or Campari, and one part soda—changes from city to city. “We discovered that the Spritz’s biggest secret is that it really is much more than a recipe or a category of drinks,” they say. “The Spritz is a regional perspective on the aperitif,” signifying a cultural way that certain regions in the north think about aperitifs.
The Hugo Spritz is one such regional signature. In the South Tyrol province of Northern Italy amid the Dolomite mountain range where the cocktail originates, the Hugo Spritz isn’t made with a bitter aperitif but an elderflower cordial often made locally by allowing the flowers and sugar to ferment in the sun instead. Readily available St-Germain elderflower liqueur is used instead in this recipe.
1/2 ounce St-Germain
1 sprig mint
4 ounces prosecco, chilled
1 ounce soda water, chilled
Garnish: mint sprig
Garnish: lemon wheel
Add the St. Germain and mint sprig into a wine glass. Gently muddle and let sit for 3 minutes.
Add ice, the prosecco and the soda water and stir briefly and gently to combine.
Garnish with a mint sprig and a lemon wheel.
Who Invented The Hugo Spritz?
The Hugo Spritz was invented in 2005 by bartender Roland Gruber in the Italian town of Naturno along the Italian-Austrian border. Its popularity quickly spread from its place of origin to neighboring countries of Austria and Germany.
How to Prepare Mint for Garnish
Strip the lower leaves from the stalk, leaving a neat bouquet at the top. Then, firmly slap the mint on the back of your hand or palm before garnishing; this releases the oils to make the mint more aromatic.
To keep your mint looking fresh, shock it in an ice water bath before using.