Sgroppino: Venice Untied

July 12, 2013 / Food & Wine
Venice, Veneto
Sgroppino | ©Tom Palladio ImagesEver heard of a Sgroppino? Well, it’s a lemon-flavored, creamy-smooth, frothy alcoholic beverage.

More a digestivo (digestive) or liquid dessert than an aperitivo (cocktail), the Sgroppino was created by the inventive and masterful Venetians back in the 16th century.

Venice canal scene | ©Tom Palladio ImagesSgropin, as it’s called in the Venetian dialect, means to untie a little knot — the kind one finds in his/her 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 twinks to the centuries-old recipe.

P1110863Today, 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.

Here’s the recipe I’ve tested out at my place and my friends were quite impressed.

Sgroppino recipe graphic | ©Tom Palladio Images

Step-1: Thaw-out the sorbetto to a creamy consistency then place in an aluminum mixing bowl and whisk lightly.

Step-2: Pour in the vodka, whisk lightly, followed by the Prosecco and whisk a bit more.

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

Step-4: Dampen the glasses and place in the freezer to chill.

Step-5: Remove the bowl from the refrigerator and give the mix one final whisk to re-froth.

Step-6: Pour the mix into the pre-chilled glasses up to the top, garnish with a lemon wedge and some mint leaves, then 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.


Sgroppino | ©Tom Palladio Images
Sgroppino | ©Tom Palladio Images
Sgroppino | ©Tom Palladio Images

Sgroppino | ©Tom Palladio Images

by Tom Weber

Tom is a veteran print-broadcast journalist who resides in the Colli Euganei (Euganean Hills) in the province of Padova in the Veneto region of northestern Italy. He hosts the eclectic travel/foodie/photography blog The Palladian, is a regular contributor to Los Angeles-based, and is a member of the International Travel Writers Alliance. Feel free to follow Tom as he “meanders along the cobblestone to somewhere.”

20 Responses to “Sgroppino: Venice Untied”

  1. Love, love, love Sgroppino. Have it every meal. We decided the best place for it, so far, was Taverna San Trovaso. I have your website on follow, now.

    • Thanks very much Beth. Glad to you have you “meandering” with me. I’ll have to stop by La Taverna San Trovaso next time in the Lagoon craving un Sgropin.

  2. This sounds absolutely refreshing! I guess this is Venice’s summertime drink – as opposed to the Vin Brule that they had on every corner during the cold week of Carnevale a couple of years back. Leaving for Venezia next week, so I’ll have to try it out. Thanks, Beth, for the suggestion – that’s where I’ll head first!

    • DGiul — Along with the Sgroppino, another refreshing drink popular with Venetians is the Spritz Veneziano. Thanks for the comment. Have a great stay in La Serenissima.

      • Iris Mathewson

        I’m making Sgroppino for a dinner I’m attending tonight! I stayed in Vicenza and visited Venice 3 years ago and didn’t know about Spritz Veneziano until a friend returned to tell me. However, he couldn’t remember the ingredients. Help! Not only is Venice truly beautiful with the most amazing light but Vicenza is a hidden gem! I hope I can return one day. I also stayed in Piegaro at my school friend Colleen’s apartments, she also writes for Italian Notebook. Charming. Thanks for this treat – I live in the desert in USA so perfectly timed.

  3. Giuseppe Spano
    Giuseppe Spano

    Been there, done that, love to repeat a good thing….thank you ,Salute!

  4. Paola Girelli

    Grazie for the recipe with great photos! As a ‘veronese’ residing in US and visiting as often as possible, I agree that it is one of THE ‘drink-dessert’ to savor while in the Veneto!

    • Ciao Paola — Thanks for the “thumbs up” on the photos. Nothing says summertime better around the Veneto than Sorbetto.

  5. Sgroppino is great.. try it during the big meal between first and second dish.. I really like it a lot.

  6. Lynn Michaels

    Well, Tom, you certainly provoked a bunch of comments – really hit a happy nerve! Me, too! I can’t wait to try this out on house guests in a few days. And, yes, photos sono bellissimi! Tante grazie.

    • Lynn — I like it when subscribers chat-it-up over an IL post. Thanks for joining in the “gabfest” about il Sgroppino. Good luck with your homemade version!


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