The Lost Weekend

Okay, full confession. Chocolate wasn’t the only thing I discovered while gallivanting through Europe.

The Hugo is a a drink that has its origins in Italy. So light, delicate and refreshing. Drink up!

I discovered a taste for alcohol. Booze, hooch, the sauce. Yackity yak and all that. In other words, I discovered elderflower cordial, which is one of the main ingredients in “Hugo.” And once I tried it, folks, well, let’s just say I went off the deep end.

You see, by nature, I’m not one to imbibe. It’s not in me. In fact, Mothers Against Drunk Driving has instilled in me such a fear of driving while intoxicated, that one sip of alcohol of any kind, and I’m ready to call a cab.

On the rocks? Forget about it. One gulp and I’m three sheets to the wind. Make that four.

Yes, I’m the kind of person that can get woozy simply eating a dessert laced with alcohol. Which is why, one slice of Baked Alaska and I’m toast. A bite of fruitcake and I’m falling to pieces. Bananas Foster and I’m ready to split. Cherries jubilee has me swinging from the trees.

Which is why, I’m no match for anything that has alcohol as an ingredient. And don’t get me started on beer because I hate that stuff. The smell alone makes me want to gag.

Call me a teetotaler. One that falls off the wagon every now and then. Okay, make that rarely.

But, there I was in Salzburg. Someone had recommended we visit the Hotel Stein, which has a bar on the roof and you can enjoy the view of the mountains, the quaint architecture, and the charming bridges. We were on vacation, after all, so I decided to splurge and put aside the usual soft drink of choice, and order something different. I asked for the “Hugo” because its description on the menu piqued my interest.

Well, the Hugo is SENSATIONAL! We’re talking LOVE at first sip! I was blown away, head over heels, nearly downing the drink in one fell swoop. So good, infused with citrus and the right hint of sweetness. The mint leaves added a perfect complement to the drink. Just the right touch of everything, if you ask me, making it a uniquely refreshing drink, indeed. And, très European!

Ah, sweet mystery of life at last I found you!!

The rooftop of the Hotel Stein in Salzburg offers amazing views. Order a Hugo and you’ll see what I mean!

Not only did I enjoy my entire drink, but when I finished, I found myself licking the inside of the glass, right down to the last drop. And I was only slightly inebriated. Inebriated with joy, that is.

Here at last, is a drink after my own heart—Prosecco, elderflower cordial, mineral water, mint leaves and ice.

I left the Hotel Stein determined that I would procure my own bottle of elderflower cordial to take back to the states.

Well, I never did get a chance to buy it while in Europe and if I had, who knows how I would’ve brought it home, what with all the airline regulation about traveling with liquids, etc.

So, as soon as I returned home I was on a mission to locate it here. And, as luck would have it, I found a little shop nearby that carries elderflower cordial!

Which, brings me to my “Lost Weekend.” Thanks to Hugo, I went on a binge, a bender. Because, once you open a bottle of Prosecco, you can’t just have one drink and put the rest away for another day. It’ll lose its bubbly and, frankly, the cork is impossible to push back into the bottle’s super-narrow opening. So it’s sink or swim. Drink or fizz out.

Use it or lose it!

A view of Salzburg from atop the Hotel Stein.

Of course I had to keep drinking. Mustn’t waste a drop, you know. Happily, my friend, Christine, was visiting so she helped me prepare and drink our Hugo’s. And, our friend, Ana, stopped by, so we rallied her to help us. It was round-the-clock Hugo madness—all weekend long.

And, when we finished the Prosecco, but still had lots of mineral water, limes and mint leaves left—we had to run out and buy some more of the Italian sparkling wine! We drank ourselves into a tizzy and laughed and chatted and completely lost track of time. In fact, my memory is rather hazy about what we did the rest of the weekend.

So, it really was for me, The Lost Weekend. But, thanks to Christine, Ana and a drink called Hugo, (which is now my favorite drink in the world!), it was gads of fun, too.

Click here for a recipe to make your own Hugo drink.  But be forewarned:  you may have a lost weekend of your own!

So, tell me. What’s your drink of choice?

If you haven’t yet seen the mother of all lost weekends, this one’s a doozy. Ray Milland and Joan Wyman are terrific together.