Meet Sgroppino, Italy's Whimsical Lemon Sorbet Cocktail

You've met the frozen margarita, the daiquiri, and the frosé ... now it's time to meet the Sgroppino. A sweet (and slightly sour) member of the ever-expanding frozen cocktail club, this one hails from Italy. It's a smooth, refreshing, lemon and booze-filled dessert drink — and it's definitely worth getting to know.

So what exactly makes up a Sgroppino? While you'll find other variations in Italy and beyond — at its base, the cocktail is just three ingredients: lemon sorbet, prosecco, and vodka. It's usually garnished with a lemon wedge, lemon zest, or a fresh mint leaf, and is often served as an after-dinner or dessert drink.

Unlike its many frozen cocktail friends, the Sgroppino stands out because it's not blended; rather, its icy and bubbly ingredients are gently whisked together to create a slushie-like consistency. What makes the Sgroppino whimsical is that one sip will send you off — whether it's back to childhood or looking out at the water somewhere in Italy.

The origins of Italy's favorite lemon sorbet cocktail

This may be the first time you're hearing about this chilly Italian dessert cocktail, but the Sgroppino (or some version of it) has actually been around for centuries. In fact, the after-dinner drink is a modern take on an old tradition that dates back to 16th-century Venice.

The drink is a creation born of Venetian aristocrats — those high-rollers rich enough to be able to enjoy large meals and afford things like ice all those centuries ago. The Sgroppino, which translates to "untie a little knot" in Italian, was originally concocted as a part palate cleanser, part digestive aid that was served during or after a particularly filling dinner.

To make this traditional digestif, aristocratic households of Venice simply mixed lemon sorbet with a splash of alcohol and slurped it up to help soothe their full bellies. Over time, that tradition became modernized to include vodka and Prosecco, and now the refreshing, icy cocktail is the Sgroppino we know today.

Variations on the Sgroppino

With only three main ingredients, this frozen cocktail is extremely simple to make. But that also means that it's easy to modify to create new variations — whether you prefer a different liquor or want to sip on a certain fruit sorbet flavor.

For example, you can substitute the Prosecco with other types of sparkling wine, like a sparkling Chenin Blanc for something more floral or a riesling or rosé for something extra sweet. And if you want something other than vodka, you can always mix in a botanical-forward gin or stick to the Italian origins and use grappa or limoncello instead.

As for the sorbet, this is where you can really play around with the flavors of your cocktail. There are versions out there that use different sorbet flavors from peach to lime to blood orange — but feel free to sub in whatever type of fruity sorbet you desire. With this summery cocktail, the world's your oyster — or, rather, your fruit-forward dessert drink.