Sgroppino: Venice Untied

Sgroppino: Venice Untied | ©Tom Palladio ImagesA good friend of mine, H from West Yorkshire, UK, recently referred to me as, “our man in Italy.” She built me up to ask me to go on a mission and taste test an Italian drink called the Sgroppino.

How could I turn down her request? But, I did, sort of, by telling her that there was no need to taste one because I’ve consumed many a Sgroppino and they are just fantastic. And, I explained to her, in a few words, what a Sgroppino is.

Thanks to Ms. H, I’ll share those details, and then some, right here, right now, and prep a Sgroppino for you so that you can try it out on your home turf. Okay by you?

Venice canal scene | ©Tom Palladio ImagesThe Sgroppino, a creamy-smooth, frothy alcoholic beverage, is actually more of a digestivo (digestive) or liquid dessert than an aperitivo (cocktail).

Created by the inventive and masterful Venetians back in the 16th century, the Sgropin, as it’s called in the Venetian dialect, means to untie a little knot — the ones in your stomach following a rather large meal. Further away from La Serenissima it’s called a Sgroppino, or simply Sorbetto.

Made with milk-free lemon sorbetto (sorbet) and a bit of alcohol, the Sgroppino was served in aristocratic Venetian homes during dinner to cleanse the palate between the first and second courses — normally fish to meat — and to also help digest all that was consumed at the tail-end of the dinner. That tradition continues today, with a few minor tweaks to the centuries-old recipe.

Ornate bow on a Venetian gondola | ©Tom Palladio ImagesToday, the classic Sgroppino is made with lemon sorbetto, vodka and Prosecco sparkling wine. Variations include strawberry, grapefruit or mandarin sorbetto vice lemon, and, for some, the addition of limoncello (lemon liqueur).

Personally, I prefer the classic mix, just like most folks living in and around the Most Serene Republic of Venice. Hey, when in Venice, or nearby, do as the Venetians do, right?

If you’ll watch your step, let’s go aboard my virtual gondola and over to the mini-bar area and whip-up a batch of Sgroppino fit for Venetian fat cats.

Sgopprino recipe graphic | ©Tom Palladio Images

Step 1: Thaw out, if frozen, the lemon sorbet until it has a thick, creamy consistency.

Ingredients staged for a Sgopprino | ©Tom Palladio Images  Whisking the Lemon Sorbet | ©Tom Palladio Images

Step 2: Add the sorbet to an aluminum mixing bowl and whisk to remove any lumps or bumps.

Vodka added to the Lemon Sorbet | ©Tom Palladio Images

Step 3: Pour in the vodka, and whisk lightly to blend.

Prosecco added to the Lemon Sorbet | ©Tom Palladio Images

Step 4: Add the Prosecco and whisk lightly to blend.

Place the Scroppino mix in the fridge | ©Tom Palladio Images

Step 5: Cover the aluminum bowl with plastic wrap and place the mix in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours.

Step 6: Dampen the glasses and place in the freezer to chill.

Final whisk of the Sgroppino mix  | ©Tom Palladio Images

Step 7: Remove the bowl from the refrigerator and give the mix one final whisk to re-froth.

Sgroppino | ©Tom Palladio Images

Step 8: Pour the mix into the pre-chilled cordial glasses up to the top, garnish with a lemon wedge and mint leaves, and serve.

The next time, or first time, you find yourself in Venice, untie those knots by asking for a Sgroppino during or after dinner. It’s the Venetian thing to do.

For more refreshing drink ideas, just click on GOOD COCKTAILS, right above the header photo, for the pull-down menu. SALUTE!

©The Palladian Traveler

Borsalino w/ props SMALL | ©Tom Palladio Images



    1. E ‘certamente. Io non ti mentirei. You’ll have to experiment a bit, as it’s easy to add too much liquid (V and P) making the mix a bit too runny. Keep some extra sorbet in reserve just to have if you need to thicken the mix up a tad. Remember, if you have to drink it with a spoon then it’s TOO THICK. Let me know. Ciao for now. YMII (Your man in Italia).

    1. Tina — It’s really easy to make IF you can find dairy-free lemon ice (sorbet to/sorbet). If not, just go ahead and use lemon-flavored sherbet or similar. Let me know how it went and if your friends dug it.

  1. Sounds wonderful for summer, so once it finally warms up, I’ll give it a try. I enjoyed reading the history of the drink as well. It amused me that my email notification of your post showed everything except the name of the drink, (there was just a blank space), as if it were an obscene word. 🙂 Enjoy your Sunday.


    1. Janet — The bold white font I guess doesn’t show up in the notification, but does on the actual post. Thanks for the read, and don’t wait for warmer weather, give it a go now, especially right after a heavy meal. 🙂

  2. One of my all-time favorites! Believe it or not, I was introduced to it @ The Venetian in Las Vegas many years ago…when in the Veneto last June, they were fabulous during the heat wave! Salute!

  3. I clambered aboard ready for a trip to Venice, but wasn’t too disappointed by your delicious sounding digestif, Tom. Might just have to try this to see if it works. 🙂

  4. I need to make this when it gets warmer outside. My recipe didn’t include sorbet, but I discovered when I researched what I was served in Venice, that there are a few ways to make this drink. We ate lunch in Venice at a tucked away little restaurant, and after enjoying sea bass, our waiter suggested a Sgroppino! It was marvelous!

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