If we know anything about Italian boozy desserts is that they really love their lemons. When life gives an Italian a lemon, they make a liqueur such as the infamous Limoncello. However, we like to veer around the popular and expected cocktails, so this week we picked Sgroppino. Which sounds hard to pronounce but it is very easy to make.
Sgroppino’s ingredients might scare the health conscious but if you do it our way- we promise you’re saving yourself the calories from dairy-less sorbet. A few recipes we found online call for Gelato but many more recommend highly against it.
The use of a blender is completely up to you if you can whisk it, whisk it. The consistency is important, you don’t want it to be too watery or too thick to drink either.
The ingredients are not really negotiable, the lemon sorbet is lemon flavored for a reason. As you know, Italians have mastered the art of digestifs, so it’s no surprise that lemon flavored stuff is celebrated by traditionally being consumed after a meal.
This is due to the fact that the tartness and citrus acid of lemon sorbet actually clears the taste buds. The citric acids lemons contain elicits salivation, which aids in cleansing the palate.
Lemons and limes have the highest level of citric acid depending on the cultivar and the environment they grew in, of course. They rank above their cousins: orange and passion fruit by a big difference.
A Brief History
As for who invented this cocktail, there is little out there to pinpoint it. What we know for sure is that it was originated in 16th century Venice, Italy.
One source says it was an anonymous servant working in a wealthy household. We know they had to be wealthy because back in the day before fridges were a thing, people had to keep their ice in “ice boxes” which only those of status could afford.
The way ice was sourced was what made it a costly item. Workers would have to could cut ice from lakes and rivers in the winter. When delivered to the door of the rich and wealthy, it had to be stored in ice houses for summer use.
Those who weren’t as well off dug ice pits, lined with straw and sawdust as insulation. Commercial refrigeration became a thing in the late 1800s but it wasn’t until 1930 that home refrigerators arrived on the scene. In the time of ice boxes, there were ice men, who delivered fresh ice upon melting.
Rich people didn’t lift a finger back in the day so it was left to their staff to make sorbet (sorbetto) by hand.
The etymology of the word is even less romantic, “Sgropin” as it’s called it’s native Venetian dialect, translates to “untie” usually a knot small in size, you know the kind one finds in his/her stomach following pasta, meats, sauces, cheeses, and typical Italian fare.
The oldest known ice house, built by a king in Persia, dates from about 1700 B.C.E.
In comparison, Oliver Evans invented the first form of refrigerators for the home in 1844.
We hope you give this a shot and think of how privileged we are to have fridges, freezers, blenders, and whisks. Let us know how it turns out for you if you give our recipe a shot, via social media or in the comments below.
Thanks for reading, and as always…