Hugo: the European summer cocktail gets a tea makeover
Elderflower has a charming flavor with a very sophisticated profile, somewhat vintage-y, but very classy. It’s a flavor I associate with Austria. Chilled sparkling water with elderflower syrup is a popular non alcoholic summer beverage there. As it turns out, elderflower syrup is a popular ingredient in cocktails too! The first time I’ve heard about the Hugo cocktail was in Austria, but - strangely enough - not until my recent trip to Europe did I fell in love with it.
It’s a beautiful summer evening on the bank of the Danube Canal in Vienna. Heat lightning flashes in the distance. Everybody is sitting outside, enjoying some respite from the heat and (very likely) a refreshing cocktail or ice cold beer. This moment inspired me to capture that summer vibe. There’s no tea in the original version of the Hugo cocktail, but you know me, I can’t help myself ;-) Actually, the cocktail was invented in Italy (!!! of all places) and then spread to the German-speaking neighboring countries.
Silver needle white tea Hugo
Cold-brewed silver needle white tea (make ahead)
In a glass jar, bottle or pitcher combine 4 teaspoons silver needle white tea leaves with 3 or 3 ½ cups (800 ml) spring or filtered water at room temperature and let sit 30 minutes. Stir and transfer to the refrigerator. I let my tea infuse for 24 hours, but feel free to adjust tea leaves to water ratio and infusion time.
For 1 cocktail:
3 oz (9 cl) cold-brewed silver needle white tea
2 oz (6 cl) Prosecco wine or other dry sparkling wine
0.5 oz (1.5 cl) elderflower syrup
A sprig of fresh mint
A slice of lime
Ice cubes if desired
Start with chilled ingredients. Combine tea, Prosecco and elderflower syrup in a cocktail mixing glass. Stir gently. Pour in a chilled coupe and garnish with a sprig of fresh mint and a slice of lime. Add ice cubes if necessary. Serve and enjoy!
Cheers to tea-infused summer cocktails!
What's your favorite cocktail this summer?