Campari Sorbet

This Campari sorbet recipe is sweet and tart and sophisticated and stunning and almost too pretty to eat. Almost.

A glass bowl filled with Campari sorbet on a white marble countertop.

Think of this Campari sorbet as a sophisticated and refreshing riff on a cocktail. It’s sweet and tart and a little bitter and almost more digestif than dessert thanks to the herbal undertones of the vibrant magenta booze known as Campari that’s an Italian classic. We find this sorbet almost too pretty to eat. Almost.–Angie Zoobkoff

Campari Sorbet

  • Quick Glance
  • (2)
  • 15 M
  • 2 H, 40 M
  • Serves 10
5/5 - 2 reviews
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Special Equipment: Ice-cream maker

Ingredients


Directions

Roughly chop the lemon, including the skin. Discard the seeds. Toss the chopped lemon in a food processor along with the sugar and purée until the lemon is smooth punctuated by little bits of lemon zest.

Add the Campari and clementine juice and pulse to combine. If desired, strain the mixture, using the back of a spoon to press on the solids to release as much liquid as possible.

If using an ice cream maker, transfer the mixture to a bowl, add the pomegranate juice, and stir well to combine. Cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, about 2 hours. Pour the refrigerated sorbet mixture into your ice cream machine, working in a couple batches if necessary, and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If you like a softer sorbet, serve the Campari sorbet straightaway from the ice cream machine; if you like a firmer sorbet, transfer it to a resealable container and freeze for at least 6 hours. If not using an ice cream maker, add the pomegranate juice and stir to combine. Pour the mixture into a couple metal baking pans and freeze, stirring and scraping the mixture with a fork every 30 minutes, until flaky and frozen, 3 to 6 hours total, depending on the size of your pan. The texture will be coarser than a typical sorbet and more like that of a granita. Serve the Campari sorbet straightaway or transfer it to a resealable container and freeze for up to several days.

Scoop and serve. (You probably could’ve figured this step out on your own…) Originally published February 11, 2017.

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

This Campari sorbet is the epitome of an adult sorbet. Besides being boozy, it relies on the bitterness of the Campari to offset the sweetness enough to make this sorbet rather un-dessertlike, vibrant pink coloring notwithstanding. Think of it as a digestif, rather than a dessert, and you'll be happy.

This recipe makes a large batch—more than mine could handle in one go. Check the capacity of your ice cream maker. If you have the typical 1.5-quart Cuisinart, you'll need to freeze this in 2 batches, so allow time for that or halve the recipe. My first batch was very soft when it came out of the ice cream maker, so I put it in the freezer for 6 hours before serving. I'm happy to report that the sorbet was still easily scoopable. We can thank the booze for that!

I'd recommend making this sorbet at least a half a day ahead of whenever you plan to serve it. Being a make-ahead candidate is a big plus in my mind. I used a Meyer lemon.

After tasting liqueur in a sorbet for the first time with this Campari sorbet, my mind sparked with visions of alcoholic popsicles and ice cubes. I don't think I can go back to just normal sorbet! This is perfect to have in the freezer during December to complement heavy dinners or to satiate a sweet tooth.

I do think this recipe calls for an overwhelming amount of sugar, but without it the sorbet would be less well-rounded and would have a sharp, bitter taste. I used 1 3/4 cups sugar.

This recipe would be so quick and easy with an automatic ice cream machine but if you wanted to make the process more fun, use a manual ice cream machine like I did. I have a ball in which you fill with ice, salt, and sorbet liquid. You then roll the ball around on the floor for 30 minutes, stopping halfway between to scrape the frozen liquid off the sides. Bonus points if you have a friend or significant other to sit on the floor with you and roll the ball back and forth, getting in touch with your childhood spirit just in time for Christmas. I'm not sure what my roommate thought I was doing for a half hour as the sloshing of ice on my hardwood floor was comically loud.

If you want the sorbet to be less boozy, I would halve the amount of Campari but I thought it was the perfect herb-filled complement to the sweetness. The sorbet was easily scoopable and the perfect texture to eat straightaway from the ice cream maker. I also froze the rest to eat throughout the next week or so. The sorbet is a stunning color, due to the Campari and pomegranate juice, and would be an impressive dessert at a holiday party. I would like to play around with the same recipe and try to make popsicles.

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Comments

  1. Well, this looks amazing. Can’t wait to try it! My mind is racing to think of what other liquors could be used—and the fruits and juices to combine them with. Dare I consider Chambord with raspberries and tart cherry juice? But the more I mull it over, I think the Campari sorbet ingredients in this recipe just sound like a more perfect combination than any other I can think of. Thank you, it’s a keeper!

    1. Lynn, thank you so much! I like the way you’re thinking in terms of imagination and creativity. I guess really the only way to know about your other suggestion is to try. POM makes a bottled pomegranate and cherry juice that I like that could work really quite nicely in either the Campari version here or your Chambord version. If you do experiment with other boozes and juices, kindly keep us updated!

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