This Venetian invention is often described in English language sources as a “cocktail” but it’s actually sorbet, whipped together with champagne and vodka to form a kind of cold mousse. Originally intended as a palate cleanser between courses of an important dinner, today a sgroppino is typically served as dessert/digestivo at the end of the meal, in particular if it’s fish based. Some people—and you know who you are— serve it as an aperitivo.
Whenever you choose to serve it, one thing is certain: A sgroppino is refreshing and cooling experience, particularly welcome during the dog days of summer.
- 2 scoops lemon sorbet, homemade or store-bought
- 1 small jigger vodka
- 80ml (1/3 cup) Prosecco
Take the sorbet out of the freezer and let it sit out for about 5 minutes to soften a bit.
Add the sorbet to the bowl of a standing mixer. Using the whisk, start the mixer at moderate speed to start breaking up the sorbet.
Add the vodka and let the mixer continue running until the vodka is completely absorbed, then increase the speed and drizzle in the Prosecco until you have a perfectly smooth, fluffy mousse.
Serve your sgroppino right away, in champagne flutes, garnished with a lemon slice.
Notes on sgroppino
To my taste, a properly made sgroppino should be soft, but not liquid. Although it might (just) be pourable, you should eat it with a spoon rather than drink it. You need to be be quick to make and serve your sgroppino to avoid it melting and losing its mouse-like qualities. But I have certainly seen versions of sgroppino that are liquid enough to truly qualify as a cocktail.
Most recipes call for using sorbet fresh out of the freezer, mixed with the liquors in a blender, a bit like a frozen margarita. But personally, I find the standing mixer method presented here produces a more pleasant, fluffier result than using blender.
Perhaps the most common variation is to use lemon ice cream instead of lemon sorbet. (Some sources claim this was the original recipe.) Another common variation calls for limoncello instead of (or in addition to) the vodka which, of course, will make your sgroppino even more lemon-y. If you prefer a less alcoholic sgroppino, you can forgo the vodka. On the other hand, a particularly boozy version calls for vodka and just vodka. I’ve seen versions (in the US) where the sgroppino is a kind of float, where the sorbet is scoop is plopped into a glass and topped up (not mixed) with the vodka and Prosecco. Some recipes call for topping your sgroppino with mixed fruit.
Making sgroppino ahead
Although it’s not idea, I’ve successfully made sgroppino a few hours ahead. You put it in a container and into the freezer. When you’re ready to serve, take it out of the freezer and put it back into the mixer bowl. Whisk it briskly for just a few moments, until it regains its mousse-like appearance. The texture isn’t quite as smooth and fluffy as a freshly made sgroppino, but it’s quite acceptable all the same.
For me, end of the meal always however as you said some prefer it as an aperitivo. This always reminds me of sitting hillside in Treviso gazing at the beautiful countryside.
Must have been quite the view… Thanks for stopping by, Paula! 🙂
Ah the sgroppino! Great to see it mentioned here. No one seems to know/serve it outside Northern Italy. Last time I wanted one in Jamie Oliver’s in London, I had to ask for lemon sorbet and a shot of vodka and then mixed my own. Everyone around was staring at me like I was crazy 😀
Ha! Funny that they didn’t even know it at that place… !
Interesting! I’m not familiar with a sgroppino (until now that is), but this is totally going onto the list of cocktails to make. I love a good champagne (or prosecco) cocktail, so this one is super interesting!
Thanks, David. I do think you’d like it.
What a delicious dessert, so elegant. We love anything lemony so this is a perfect dessert for us. And who doesn’t love bubbly?
Not me… 😉
I just love Scgroppino, and used to offer this in my Northern Italian ristorante each summer. My father was from Veneto so I am very familiar with this refreshing cocktail dessert but don’t see it discussed that often on the internet. I agree, homemade lemon ice cream made in a blender is smooth and airy. Now you have me craving one! Thanks for sharing this Frank!
And thanks for your comment, Patrice! I do agree, sgroppino deserves to be better known.
Love a good sgroppino! Many of the ones I’ve had in Italy had slightly more solid scoops of sorbet in a kind of pool of the more saucy blend you describe.
Frank – you may want to try an Aperolix: A shot of Aperol, with a delicious blend of the lemon sorbet and prosecco scooped into it. A truly lovely variation.
Sounds very nice, too, Jason. I’ll definitely give it a try!
Sounds absolutely divine!
I never saw this anywhere on a menu in Venice – or anywhere else, for that matter. It does sound refreshing and we are attempting lighter desserts after meals… this fits the bill!
Worth a try, David! And do ask for it next time you’re in Venice, I’m sure they’ll be able to accommodate you even if it’s not on the menu.
I make my own lemon sorbet with my Meyer lemons. Your sgroppino sounds wonderful, I need to make it. How would it taste without the gin?
Just fine, I’m sure…
That’s lovely. I have to try it. I love lemon sorbet and prosecco! Thanks for sharing! Paola
And thanks for your comment, Paola!
I have this drink on my blog! I first had it in Venice. The waiter just recommended it to me after a lovely meal of sea bass. I’m so glad he did.
Wise waiter. Sounds like the perfect ending to a meal of sea bass…
Interesting! I’ve heard of sgroppino, but didn’t know exactly what it was. And obviously never had it. Sounds like a fun drink. Slurpee. Whatever. 🙂 I’m not a big fan of flavored vodka, but do like lemon vodka (in a Lemon Drop), and it might work well in this drink. I’ll have to try it both ways. 🙂 Fun post — thanks.
Thanks, John! If you do give it a try, let us know what you think.
I’ve seen and heard of sgroppino, but again, never had one! I’m sooo making this with my Meyer Lemons! It will be fabulous! Thanks, Frank!
I’m sure it’s delicious with Meyer lemons!