Just a few weeks ago I had my first Hugo cocktail and now I’m pretty much obsessed by them.
While I rarely order a cocktail, summertime makes me yearn for something even cooler than a frosty glass of white wine. Of course, if the cocktail includes a bubbly dry wine, that’s fine with me. Champagne, Prosecco or Cava are all good. Honestly, I am not even sure I can tell them apart when they are in a cocktail. Anyway, whether it is a bellini, a bubbly blood orange Campari cocktail, or now a Hugo, I’m definitely a fan.
Shabbat & My Hugo Cocktail – Quite a Pairing
My friend Stephanie introduced me to the Hugo at our monthly Shabbat dinner group. The group gets together one Friday evening each month, rotating hosting among the participants. Besides enjoying each other’s company and the food, we set aside time, usually with dessert, to talk about a topic related to Judaism. The host chooses the subject and starts us off. She or he can ask a few questions or describe materials she/he researched. Topics can be academic, spiritual, or just plain fascinating. Last time we discussed Jewish humor. Is there such a thing, and if so, what defines it? Another memorable discussion centered on gratitude.
Speaking of gratitude, I am tremendously grateful to Stephanie for starting the group. We used to do family shabbat dinners with our kids. I loved those dinners. We always began them by lighting Shabbat candles and saying blessings over wine and challah. Then each person at the table, in turn, told the group the best thing was that happened to her/him that week. When our kids left home, I missed those Shabbat meals. These dinners are different, but they still have the warmth and the bedrock Jewish rituals of candle-lighting and Shabbat blessings.
Every Shabbat dinner group event feels like a celebration. The hosts makes the main course and the rest of us provide the other food and drink. There is challah, of course, and plenty of wine. And there is never a shortage of delicious food. Even though we always have appetizers, we rarely have cocktails.
This past month, our Shabbat dinner was on an exceptionally hot evening. Stephanie and her husband Ed brought Hugos for the group, even down to the proper glasses. From the moment, I tasted that delicate, flowery St. Germaine (elderflower liqueur), I was hooked.
The Hugo Cocktail – The Origin Story and Tips on Making a Great Hugo
- A bartender at the Zeno Wine & Cocktail Bar in Naturno, in the Tyrol region of Northern Italy, bordering Austria, invented the Hugo.
- The name apparently comes from the old German word “hugu” meaning mind, heart and spirit.
- The essentials are a sparkling dry white (Prosecco or similar), elderflower (either in a liqueur or syrup form), lime, and mint.
- You can make a mocktail version by substituting non-alcoholic Prosecco and using the elderflower syrup.
- St. Germaine is a well-known and excellent elderflower liqueur. Non-alcoholic elderflower syrup (also known as cordial) is available through Ikea and World Market, both online and in their stores. You can even cook up homemade elderflower syrup if you have access to the flowers.
- The proportions and add-ins vary considerably from one recipe to the next. Elderflower has a light, floral aroma and taste. The lime and mint give the cocktail complexity and an almost mojito-like flavor. Some versions, including the one Stephanie gave me, add gin and seltzer or sparkling water. Play around with ingredients and proportions until the result suits your tastebuds.
Shabbat & Progressive Eats – Celebrations Galore
The Shabbat dinner group and Progressive Eats are two of the anchors of my month. So when Barb, our fearless leader at Progressive Eats, chose the online group’s fifth anniversary as the theme, I was delighted. My contribution to our elegant dinner soirée would link them. After all, what better way to celebrate both than to bring them together?
Welcome to Progressive Eats, our virtual version of a Progressive Dinner Party. This month’s theme is all about an elegant summer evening celebration, and our host is Barb who blogs at Creative Culinary. This event is celebrating five years of bringing together great cooks, concepts, and especially great food through the Progressive Eats collaboration.
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, a progressive dinner involves going from house to house, enjoying a different course at each location. With Progressive Eats it’s a virtual party. After the host for the month chooses the theme, members share recipes suitable for a delicious meal or party. Then you can hop from blog to blog to check them out. Come along and see all of the deliciousness we’ve put together for our celebration inspired dishes!
Elegant Summer Evening Soiree!
- Roasted Tomato Crostini with Herbed Ricotta – The Heritage Cook
- Shrimp Cocktail Louis – From a Chef’s Kitchen
- Cheesy Pull-Apart Pesto Bread – Shockingly Delicious
- Steamed Clams with White Wine, Pancetta and Basil – Sarah’s Cucina
- Caprese Salad with Balsamic Reduction – Spice Roots
- Tomato and Fennel Salad – Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- Chocolate and Cherry Cake with Mascarpone Frosting – Creative Culinary
- Lavender Lemon Panna Cotta – The Redhead Baker
- Chocolate Layer Cake with Ganache – That Skinny Chick Can Bake
This refreshing summer drink features elderflower liqueur and Prosecco, with fresh lime and mint. It's a fabulous way to stay cool.
- Lots of ice cubes
- 1 oz Gin
- 1/2-1 oz Elderflower liqueur (St. Germaine)
- 3-4 oz Prosecco or other dry sparkling white
- 1 oz Seltzer or sparkling water
- Sprig of fresh mint, with a leaf or 2 crushed to release flavor
- 1 slice Fresh lime
Put a number of ice cubes into a medium-large glass. I like to fill the glass about halfway with ice.
Add the gin (if using) and elderflower liqueur (or syrup). Twist a bit of fresh lime in, then pour in the Prosecco and finish it off with a dash of seltzer or sparkling water. Garnish with sprigs of mint and a slice of lime.
I've provided a recipe for one serving. Of course, you can make a number of servings at once.
If you use a shot glass, keep in mind that they vary in size. There is no standard size and they vary from just under 1 ounce to 2 ounces.