Elderflower Syrup and a Friday Hugo Cocktail

by meike peters

Elderflower Syrup for a Hugo Cocktail

It’s Friday, the weekend is near, the perfect day for a summery cocktail! I don’t need something frilly, I prefer simple and light drinks like a Hugo. This fruity long drink is from the Tyrolean region, it is originally made with sparkling wine but I like it with fruity white wine. The drink is mixed with elderflower syrup, mint leaves and lemon peel, all ingredients I find in my fridge or on the balcony apart from the syrup and this had to change! Not only does it make a nice cocktail it’s also deliciously refreshing in a glass of sparkling water with a slice of lemon, for those hot summer days ahead of us! That’s reason enough to make my own syrup.

I jumped on my bike, went to the park and came home with 25 big elderflowers. They just started to blossom here last week, I noticed their sweet smell as I was jogging. I’ve been wanting to try this recipe by my mother for years, she has been making her own syrup since she first tried a Hugo. I was always too late to pick the flowers and didn’t want to repeat this mistake again. When I came back home with the elderflowers I was stunned by their beauty which tends to fade into all the leaves and flowers  in the park so I never gave them proper attention. Their smell is enchanting and they feel so fragile!

I rinsed them briefly before pouring hot water mixed with sugar and citric acid over them and then I had to be patient. They have to sit for 5 days, stirred once a day, they infuse the syrup slowly with their distinctive aroma.

Strained and bottled, I was happy about my work, and satisfied to be able to make a Hugo with my own elderflower syrup from now on!

Elderflower Syrup for a Hugo Cocktail


Elderflower Syrup for a Hugo Cocktail

For the syrup

For 2 bottles of elderflower syrup you need

fresh elderflower umbels, briefly rinsed, 25
(use the whole umbel, cut the thick green stem off, the white florets should have just opened)
sugar 1kg / 2 pounds
water 1oooml / 2 pints
citric acid 30g / 1 ounce
organic lemon, thinly sliced, 1

In a large pot, bring the water to a boil and dissolve the sugar and citric acid in it. Place the elderflower umbels in a large ceramic or glass bowl (not metal!), pour the hot water over them and put the lemon slices on top. Cover with a tea towel and let it sit for 5-6 days at room temperature, stirring once a day.

Sterilize glass bottles with spirit.

When the syrup is done, strain it through a cotton or linen kitchen towel and bring it to a boil. Strain through a towel a second time and fill in your sterilized bottles. Close well and put in your pantry. The syrup will last at least a year at room temperature, open bottles should be stored in the fridge.


For the Hugo cocktail

Fill a wine glass with sparkling wine or dry white wine. Pour in a dash of the elderflower syrup (to taste), add 1-2 ice cubes, stir and garnish with 2-3 strips of lemon peel and 3 mint leaves.

Elderflower Syrup for a Hugo Cocktail


Elderflower Syrup for a Hugo Cocktail


Elderflower Syrup for a Hugo Cocktail