Sgroppino is a mixed drink from the Italian region of Veneto. The name has been derived from the word sgropìn, which in the local dialect means sorbet. A coworker introduced me to sgroppino in 2009, and I liked it at once. Sgroppini have a very fresh and light taste and are very nice to drink, especially in hot weather. Be careful as they may be too nice and you may not be aware how much alcohol they contain (about 15% by volume, depending on how strong you make them).  Because they are so refreshing, sgroppini are great as a palate cleanser before dessert. If you don’t like heavy desserts, you could even serve just the sgroppini.

The original ingredients of sgroppino were lemon sorbet and grappa. In modern recipes prosecco (which comes from the region of Veneto as well) or another sparkling wines is added, and the grappa is often replaced by vodka (probably because it’s cheaper). Richard McGary mentioned he likes to have limoncello with sparkling wine, which gave me to idea to use limoncello instead of vodka or grappa to make sgroppini. I like this even better than sgroppini made with vodka or grappa, as the limoncello deepens the lemon flavor. Continue reading “Sgroppino”

Homemade Limoncello

Limoncello is an Italian lemon liqueur with the nice fresh taste of lemons. It is easy to make yourself, and in many trattorie in Italy it is customary to get a glass of ice cold homemade limoncello on the house when you get the check. As with many Italian recipes, the quality of the ingredients (in this case the lemons) is important, and the ingredients are not always simple to find (in this case 95% proof alcohol). 95% proof alcohol is difficult to find and expensive in the Netherlands, but in Italy it is sold by every supermarket. So I brought some home from my latest trip.

Since you will be infusing the liqueur with the zest of the lemons, they need to be ‘untreated’. Most lemons (and oranges) are treated with wax. Since you’d like to make a lemon liqueur rather than a wax liqueur, you need untreated lemons. The best lemons are those from the Sorrento peninsula, but you may be hard pressed to find those.
Continue reading “Homemade Limoncello”