Hugo who?

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Yes, I know – that’s not very nice of me. Of course we all know Hugo!

Elderflower, soda, some bubbly, some mint leaves, a little lime if you like – voilà! Hugo ticks all the boxes of a refreshing summer drink. Ever since about a decade ago there has been no summer without him. He’s this unobtrusive, tasty and delightful companion and – at the same time – the ultimate wingman for elderflower beverages.

The thing about elderflower though is that either you love it, you hate it or you have been just a little too cosy with Hugo and can’t stand the taste of it any longer. Overall it seems that by now Hugo has faded into the background a little (also his loud cousin Aperol Spritz has stolen most of his spotlight).

Having said that, from this point we can go down two roads:

Either you hate elderflower but you like Hugo, the concept. In that case you’ll just have to go shopping for a new outfit for him.

OR

you love elderflower but Hugo, the drink, puts you to sleep. And you want to experience some new action.

(OR you simply love Hugo just the way he is. In which case the thing to do here is to immediately discontinue reading as he will be cut open and given a little nip and tuck. Or a new haircut. Or both.)

Right. Down to business:

So here’s how you can turn Hugo into Hugo 2.0:

  • 3 parts elderflower syrup (alternatives: lemon balm syrup, raspberry syrup, strawberry syrup, rhubarb syrup)
  • 1 part soda water (alternatives: ginger ale – especially recommended with pear vodka, see below)
  • 6 parts sparkling wine
  • 3 mint leaves (alternatives / additives: lime slices, lemon balm, pear or apple slices) (1/2 shot of pear vodka – if you like it a bit stronger)

I for one love rhubarb syrup with mint leaves. Rhubarb syrup you can make yourself   or find it at farmer’s markets (usually in late spring and early summer (or buy online).

Now let’s focus on the elderflower creations. I will admit that I was very surprised about how much I liked some of the recipes I tried (I myself am one of the people overdosing on elderflower in recent summers). Personally, I need a little acidity to counteract the typical floral sweetness of the elderflower. If you find yourself in the same situation I recommend adding a little more lemon/lime to the drink than the recipe suggests.

Tip I: It is very important to get elderflower liquor/syrup of high quality. Otherwise you soon  won’t fit any of the above categories anymore. For my personal quest I tried Edinburgh Elderflower Liquor which is made from handpicked elderflower blossoms and Lebensstern Elderflower Liquor which contains some citric notes aside from the elderflower. Both of which I can recommend.

Tip II: you can either use elderflower syrup or liquor. It’s worth comparing and playing around with different brands and amounts a little bit.

Tip  III: If you are in the same category as me and just are not quite sure if you still are able to tolerate elderflower as you had just a little too much of it: St. Germain is available in small bottles (e.g. here) if you want to want to carefully (re-)test the waters.

Without further ado, let me introduce you to the crowd. First off:

Vincent*:

  • 1 shot vodka
  • ¼ shot elderflower syrup/liquor
  • top off with tonic water (either regular or elderflower tonic)
  • 1 slice of lemon or orange (if you like it zestier just add a little lemon juice as well

VIncent II

Vincent is a modest and simple friend. If you prefer a little intriguing hotness, you should definitely try this angle

Raul*:

  • 1 ⅔ shots vodka
  • ¾ shot lime juice
  • ⅓ shot elderflower syrup/liquor
  • ¾ shot honey
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 chilli pepper (décor)

Cruz

Shake ingredients well, pour into a martini glass and add the chilli pepper last. Add ice if you like it extra cold. Like me.

Now if that’s a little too spicy but you still like a little temper, try…

Cruz*:

  • 2 shots tequila blanco
  • 1 shot elderflower syrup/liquor
  • ¾ -1 shot freshly squeezed lemon juice

Shake and pour into martini glass.

Save the best for last! Ok, again, not nice. Not ok to pick favorites. But this thing – summer in a glass:

Osborn*:

  • 1½ shot gin or vodka
  • ¾ shot elderflower liquor
  • ½ shot Aperol
  • ½ shot freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • top off with dry sparkling wine
  • 1 slice of orange

Osborn

I can’t wait to hear which one you liked best 🙂

Drink it in! Cheers!

*names are the result of personal creativity 😉

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