Celebrating Dual Citizenship with Hugo

by Kirsten on August 8, 2012 · 48 comments

in Beverages, Starters & Sides

On Monday I became a US citizen.

As you probably already know I am German. I was born and raised in Germany and moved to the US with my husband after we had already been married  and  had children, which were also both born in Germany. Moving to the US was a big decision and a turning point in my life. I left everything behind. My family, my friends, familiar customs and places. I had also just lost my dad two month prior to brain cancer. The language was no big hurtle, but I remember very vividly how lost I felt. Over the years, life in the US got easier for me and I made friends and became more integrated.  Still, I never felt that I was a part of the US society. The thought of becoming a US citizen formed.

After I heard through some of my German friends several years ago that Germany loosened its laws to allow dual citizenship, which was unheard of before (you would have to give up your German citizenship if you took on another one) I got very excited and started my research. It turned out that taking on the US citizenship was the easier part. The harder hurdle to take was with the German government. They had to give their approval for me to keep my German citizenship before taking on the US citizenship. Without that I would automatically loose my German one. Some of my friends had already started their paperwork battle with the German offices. They all made it sound that it would be an almost impossible task to achieve (well, for everybody else besides them) and I felt very discouraged.  My collected research paperwork was moved into a drawer to gather dust.

A few years later at a moving away party for my friend Katharina,  I met Markus and his wife Manu. Both became dear friends of our family very quickly. Markus and Manu encouraged me to continue to work on my paperwork towards becoming a US citizen. It turned out to be a much less complicated task then expected. Almost a year ago I sent my application away and  was approved by the German government to keep my German citizenship after taking on the US citizenship in less then three month. I will never forget that special day when I got to pick up the official certificate at our consulate here in Denver.

Well, and the rest is history. Applying for the US citizenship was very easy for me, since I had already been living in the US legally for much longer then five years. Last Monday I completed the final testing on my knowledge of the US government and history. I passed without a mistake and was sworn in as a citizen the same afternoon.

I was excited that my husband and my friends Manu and Markus could attend the ceremony. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your support and encouragement. I could not have done it without you.

This special occasion calls for a celebration with Hugo. Hugo is a refreshing soda/ champagne drink enhanced with elderberry flower syrup, lime and mint leaves.  It is THE  summer to go drink in Germany. I got to taste it for the first time last summer while visiting a German winery in my home region Palatinate. It is refreshing, minty and bubbly, just the way I like it.

Please take a glass and let’s raise it. Prost, Zum Wohl, Cheers to letting me being a part of your country and a new chapter in my life. I am sending my love to all of you and thanks for all your continuous support.


Hugo - Champagne drink with elderberry flower syrup, mint and lime
5.0 from 3 reviews
Recipe type: Aperetif
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves: 2
  • 100 ml (3.38 fluid ounces) Prosecco or Champagne, brut, (I like Korbel brut)
  • 150 ml (5 fluid ounces) mineral water, bubbly
  • elderberry flower syrup
  • organic mint leaves
  • 2 organic lime, juiced
  • 1 organic lime, sliced
  • ice cubes
  1. Crush/ muddle 4 mint leaves and add to a champagne or bigger wine glass.
  2. Add a small amount of elderberry flower syrup, about 1-2 teaspoon (5 -10ml). Be careful not to add too much, otherwise you will end up with an overly sweet aperitif.
  3. Add the lime juice, champagne and mineral water. Stir well a cocktail spoon.
  4. Add more mint leaves and lime slices.
  5. Serve with a straw.
For my size champagne glasses this recipe fills two glasses. Serve a virgin Hugo, actually called Heinrich, by substituting mineral water for the champagne. Find elderberry flower syrup at your local IKEA or order online. Adjust the sweetness of your drink through the addition/reduction of elderberry flower syrup.


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Suzy May 7, 2014 at 12:26 pm

My boyfriend is also a dual citizen (US/German) and we live here in Denver. Would love to make this drink for a summer event and wondering where you find elderberry flower syrup in Denver?

Kirsten May 15, 2014 at 8:06 am


Harry November 21, 2013 at 10:26 am

I was looking for the Hugo recipe online and stumbled upon your dual citizenship story.
My wife Andrea and I are trying the same thing and were equally discouraged. We are both born and raised in Germany, Köln ind Düsseldorf, and live in California as “legal aliens”.

Would you be willing to share your story and give us some tips?
Vielen Dank im voraus!
MfG, Harry

Gian Ori August 28, 2013 at 8:46 am

Hugo is not a German drink. As been invented in South Tyrol in Northern Italy, and you must use Prosecco and not champagne. Champagne is a French wine. In Italy we use Prosecco.

Kirsten August 28, 2013 at 10:16 pm

Gian, I never mentioned that it was a German drink. I know where it comes from. Unfortunately I have to use the ingredients available to me for my recipes. I didn’t have Prosecco on hand. I hope you understand.

Anna Bright July 23, 2013 at 3:28 am

I am currently in Germany. I had recently had the fabulous celebration drink you share the recipe of above. I am in the process of marrying a German citizen…so the story you shared is very special to me. I look forward to the process of him becoming a US Citizen or a dual citizen of Germany and the US.

Jennifer K December 30, 2012 at 11:39 pm

First, congrats on the citizenship!! I came across your site today for the first time and am THRILLED to find the Hugo!! We were in Germany this summer and indeed, it is the drink of the summer! I’ve been trying to replicate it since returning. Happy to find the syrup at IKEA – I even brought some back in case it wasn’t to be found in the US. I’m anxious to try your recipes. I’m on a German cooking/baking spree 🙂

Grüße aus Seattle!

Nuts about food September 6, 2012 at 2:29 am

Congratulations Kirsten! What wonderful news. What you wrote is true, when my sister and I were born we were not allowed to obtain dual citizenship, despite my mother being German. Now my sister is married to a German and has a German passport but I still only have an American passport, which made my living in the EU much more complicated.

Jane August 30, 2012 at 12:31 pm

Warmest congratulations on becoming a U.S. citizen, Kirsten. What a wonderful thing to celebrate and share with your blog’s readers. 🙂 And, what a lovely champagne drink to get the party going!

Caterina B August 26, 2012 at 10:09 am

Yes! Congratulations! And…as one commenter said, “you probably know more about American history than native born Americans do” We all had to study it in school but who still thinks about it? We should. Your website is very professional looking and you have the most delicious recipes.
Now that I have at last made it to IKEA once in Denver, (I live about 31/2 hours from it in the mountains) and I loved that store, the next time I get to Denver I will go there and buy some elderberry syrup. I have read about elderberries on the internet for years but never tried to find some. Somewhere I read that someone mentioned elderberries as growing in the Boulder area? I wonder if that is so? Maybe I should try to grow my own. Thanks for this very good blog!

Maureen August 13, 2012 at 12:28 am

What a beautiful post. I’m an American/Australian dual citizen and I know exactly how you feel. You have a foot in both countries and I’ll bet when you’re homesick you cook something truly German. My husband can always tell when I’m homesick because I make decadent American things to eat. 🙂

Joanne August 12, 2012 at 10:28 am

I am so happy for you and I know how you feel. I became a US citizen in 2008 and now I carry dual citizenship (with Canada). I lived in the Denver area for 13 years and I’m now back in Canada for a while, working here. My hope/plan is to move to the US when I retire. By the way, I also lived in Germany for 8 years (Lahr im Schwarzwald) and looking forward to go back for a visit one day. Your blog is one of my favorites and I visit often. Congratulations to my fellow American!

Susan August 11, 2012 at 8:47 am

A true welcome to America. Those of us born here are very proud to have you join us as a citizen. I find it wonderful that you can keep your German citizenship also. By the way, you and your husband look wonderful!!!

Kirsten August 11, 2012 at 8:55 am

Thank you, Susan.

zorra August 11, 2012 at 3:38 am

Gratulation, darauf stosse ich gerne mit einem Kurti auf dich an!

Kirsten August 11, 2012 at 8:54 am

Zum Wohl, Zorra. Heisst Hugo auch Kurti?

zorra August 12, 2012 at 5:37 am

Kurti ist mit Basilikum- anstelle von Holunderblütensirup und ist das Sommergetränk 2012 – http://kochtopf.twoday.net/stories/kurti-mein-sommergetraenk-2012/ 😉

Christel August 11, 2012 at 2:26 am

Congratulations Kirsten. How nice that you are now a US citizen like the rest of your family. You have no idea how pleased i am to have come across this post. After over 40 years in New Zealand (married to a Kiwi) I have not become a Kiwi myself because it would have meant giving up my German nationality. Our son has got dual nationality though. I shall contact the embassy in Wellington and find out more about it.

Kirsten August 11, 2012 at 8:53 am

Christel, es ist nie zu spaet!

Micha August 10, 2012 at 11:26 am

Zwei Heimaten kann man haben, aber besser nur ein Zuhause! Sage ich mal so als Auslands-Deutsche :).

Sieht aus, als würde es dir gut damit gehen – daher: Félicitation!

Kirsten August 11, 2012 at 8:52 am

Vielen Dank, Micha. Zuhause hat man nur eins das stimmt. Mein Zuhause ist nun hier in den USA. Heimat hat man aber auch nur eine. Heimat wird immer Deutschland sein. Weisst Du das es im Englischen gar kein Wort fuer Heimat gibt?

judy August 19, 2012 at 7:48 pm

Kirsten, I often visit your site because I love to cook and look for German reipes. I am Canadian and loved this post. I am of German origin and can read
the German .. that was fun. I do believe there is an English word for Heimat.
Isn’t it ‘homeland’ or ‘fatherland’?

Karen Harris August 9, 2012 at 7:26 pm

Congratulations Kirsten! Immigration is sometimes a sea of red tape. I’m so glad you cut through it. If anyone could pass the test without error, my money would be on you.

Kirsten August 11, 2012 at 9:07 am

Thank you, Karen. We will have to celebrate with a pie soon. What kind?

Chele August 9, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Congratulations on your milestone. Love the drink you have picked to celebrate with – yum!

Kirsten August 11, 2012 at 9:06 am

Thank you, Chele. Yes, the drink is outstanding. Hope you will give it a try!

Toni @ Boulder Locavore August 9, 2012 at 7:13 am

Congratulations Kirsten! What a huge milestone and accomplishment (you know more about American History now than more Americans I’m sure!). I hope it brings you the feeling of inclusion you so deserve. Do the kids have dual citizenship as well? I wondered if you tested the waters first to see if you could maintain both before trying with them. Beatufiul drink too!

Kirsten August 11, 2012 at 9:05 am

Thank you, Toni. Yes, my kids do have dual citizenship through birth. Luck ones.

Lea Ann (Cooking on the Ranch) August 9, 2012 at 6:58 am

I’m so glad you wrote about this. Congratulations Kirsten and BIG HUGS to you! I remember you mentioning something about it once, during the German paperwork part. I had forgotten all about it. And what a beautiful drink to celebrate. We’ll have to celebrate with a great time in Portland.

Kirsten August 11, 2012 at 9:04 am

Thank you, Lea Ann. We will definitely celebrate in Portland. Can’t wait to go.

Brittany August 9, 2012 at 12:41 am

Congratulations! That’s a really exciting time for you!

Kirsten August 11, 2012 at 9:03 am

Thank you, Brittany. Yes, it is.

Islandgirl August 9, 2012 at 12:19 am

Hi Kirsten,
Herzlichen Glueckwunsch – well done! Ich dachte auch immer, dass die doppelte Staatsbuergerschaft schwierig zu erreichen waere…..

Kirsten August 11, 2012 at 9:02 am

Danke, Gudrun. Nein, so schwer ist das gar nicht. Wenn Du moechtest kann ich Dir gerne behilflich sein.

Susan August 8, 2012 at 5:17 pm

I raise my glass to you, dear friend~Congratulations! I have been so honored to get to know you and now I feel I’ve gotten to be a part of a special day for you. Love and Cheers XOXO

Kirsten August 11, 2012 at 9:01 am

Thank you, Susan! I am honored that you are my friend, too.

Susan o August 8, 2012 at 4:43 pm

Oh what a wonderful day for you and your family. Congratulations and I’m sure you will be thrilled to vote. I love the picture of you and your husband. You two make a good looking American couple!!

Kirsten August 11, 2012 at 9:00 am

Thank you, Susan. Yes, it was a very special day.

kitchenroach August 8, 2012 at 4:30 pm

Ich gratuliere von Herzen und heb’ ein Glas Hugo auf Dich!

Kirsten August 11, 2012 at 8:59 am

Danke und Zum Wohl.

Cooking with Michele August 8, 2012 at 4:29 pm

Congratulations Kirsten!!!!!!!

Kirsten August 11, 2012 at 8:58 am

Thank you, Michele.

Mary August 8, 2012 at 3:48 pm

Welcome to the U.S.!

It’s nice that you have dual citizenship, I’m sure the German healthcare is much better for retirees . . . when you get around to that!

Kirsten August 11, 2012 at 8:57 am

Thanks, Mary. Healthcare is better, but by then I am sure they are also out of money. Who knows.

Schokozwerg August 8, 2012 at 2:24 pm

Herzlichen Glückwunsch, liebe Kirsten! Für jede – die alte und die neue – Heimat eine Staatsbürgerschaft, ich stoße auf Dich an 🙂

Kirsten August 11, 2012 at 8:56 am

Thanks! Heimat gibt es aber nur eine!

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