Ah, a light and lovely Hugo Spritz. If you’ve traveled to Italy, you might have stumbled across the traditional, refreshing alcoholic beverage. In fact, I first became acquainted with it in my trips to South Tyrol, Italy—the Italian Alps—where it originates, though it’s widespread now in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. It features just a few key ingredients: prosecco (Italian sparkling wine), elderflower syrup or liqueur, and seltzer water, with mint leaves (or lemon balm leaves) and lime wedges. It is utterly refreshing, with just a hint of sweetness, effervescent bubbles, and an herbal-lime flavor. I enjoyed these drinks so much during my time in South Tyrol that I sought after recreating my experience at home in California—especially after discovering I had limes, mint, and lemon balm readily growing in my garden.
I lightened up my Hugo with sparkling mineral water instead of sweetened sparkling water, and a lighter touch of Prosecco. With just 5 ingredients, you can make up these cocktails quickly and easily. They are perfect for warm days in the outdoors, or social events calling for a pretty cocktail. I froze pansies in my ice cubes for these cocktails, which is a fun trick to make your drinks even more beautiful.