Holunder – German for elderberry/elderflower – first caught a wider audience’s imagination in trendy bars with a drink called Hugo, a sparkling wine or prosecco with an elderflower taste. If you were with it, you’d suddenly be ordering Hugo. But then the holunder habit spread like a rampant retail virus and before I knew it I was seeing holunder in everything this year.
The two that stood out most for me can be seen on the left. The first caught me unawares while holidaying near Lake Constance. A regional drinks manufacturer (ten to a penny in Germany) is now selling its own version of elder-pop. With that safe traditional design, it’ll certainly do for the village elders, to add to the young in crowd who are safely retro these days and, in Germany, have started wearing dirndl again.But the second product to jump on the bandwagon really caught me off my guard – at a DIY store. There it was – Hugo mint. Now grow this special mint on your window sill, urbanite balcony or (in case you’re straight-laced and bourgeois, yet still the extended target group) grow it in your garden. Then pour some sparkling wine, add a spritz of elderflower flavouring and of course a sprig of this mint.
When no-one was looking I chewed a leaf to see what was so different about it. Nothing. It tasted like normal mint. But hang on, this is marketing – we can’t call it that, can we? Then it would be boring. Come on, how can we sell more? What’s the big trend this year? Think of something. I’ve got it, it’s Hugo mint.