Hugo – The Devolution of a Trend Cocktail

I first came across the fashionable cocktail called Hugo in one of the trendier restaurants in town* (not my preferred hangout at all – I was there at the request of someone else) when I spotted what looked like a glass of pinkish champagne with a sprig of herb in the hand of a woman in our party and asked her what it was. “It’s a new drink”, she said, “It’s called Hugo and it’s a mix of prosecco, elderberry sirup and mint.”

That was in late 2011, at around the time that Martin Scorsese’s film Hugo was in cinemas. In fact, I wondered whether the cocktail had been named for the movie. Though according to this article, the drink predates the movie by several months at least and originates in South Tyrol in the Italian Alps.

In the months that followed I kept seeing Hugo on more and more menus in bars and restaurants that were far from anybody’s idea of trendy. By the summer of 2012, it was served as an aperitif at my aunt’s birthday party. And my aunt hasn’t been trendy since approx. 1975.

Fast forward to last week. I’m in the Aldi discount supermarket doing my weekly shopping, when I suddenly spot a bunch of bottles with striking labels and caps in shocking pink in the wine and liquor aisle. Intrigued (“Who on Earth thought that shocking pink was a good colour for a label on a wine bottle?”), I investigate and found this. It’s none other than Hugo, the trend cocktail, prepackaged and premixed and sold at a discount store.

From trend cocktail served in hip bars to pre-bottled drink sold at Aldi in one and a half years. Now that’s devolution.

*In Bremen, “trendy bar or restaurant” usually means that players of the local football club Werder Bremen have been spotted there. It can sometimes give a boost to highly unlikely places such as an African homecooking restaurant in an immigrant neighbourhood.

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2 Responses to Hugo – The Devolution of a Trend Cocktail

  1. Daniela says:

    Down here they also sometimes serve Hugo but the it’s usually at wine-festivals and both the Prosecco and the elderberry sirup are local products (without the mint though). That’s how I knew about this and was really stunned when people started sneering about Hugo and calling it trendy because here it’s a refreshing and nice drink during a hit summer day.

    • Cora says:

      I think you’re closer to the region where it originally came from, so it’s probably more organic there (and probably quite nice and refreshing in summer). Up here, it showed up first in the trendy bars and restaurants, then in the non-trendy places and finally at Aldi.

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