Soft snow. That’s how the author of this ouzo sorbet recipe describes it. We think of it as brash and boozy. Both are true. The balanced sweetness and the bracing anise-ness work perfectly after a meal, sort of like an after-dinner digestif. Any brand of ouzo will do, although when in Greece, it’s quite possible you’ll encounter Ouzo 12. It’s one of the most common brands and its astringent, licorice-like heft really packs a wallop. Just one swig is all it takes to understand the inside joke behind the touristy T-shirts branded with “Ouzo 12, Me 0.”–Renee Schettler

A glass filled with ouzo sorbet in a small china dish with a spoon resting beside it.

Ouzo Sorbet

5 from 1 vote
I'm happy to enjoy ouzo any way it shows up, but I'm particularly partial to this boozy sorbet.
David Leite
Servings6 servings
Calories169 kcal
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time5 minutes
Chilling time3 hours
Total Time3 hours 10 minutes


  • Ice cream maker (optional)


  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 cups cold water
  • 7 tablespoons ouzo


  • In a small saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.
  • Stir the ouzo into the sugar syrup.

    If using an ice cream maker: Pour the ouzo mixture into an ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

    If not using an ice cream maker: Pour the ouzo mixture onto a rimmed baking sheet or into a metal roasting pan and put in the freezer. Scrape the mixture with a fork every 30 minutes or so until the ouzo mixture freezes, 2 to 3 hours.


Sambuca Sorbet Variation

Ouzo and Sambuca are both made from anise seed. The former is from Greece, the latter is from Italy. To adapt the above recipe for use with Sambuca, simply swap an equal amount of Sambuca for the ouzo.
Food from Many Greek Kitchens Cookbook

Adapted From

Food From Many Greek Kitchens

Buy On Amazon


Serving: 1 portionCalories: 169 kcalCarbohydrates: 33 gFat: 0.1 gSodium: 6 mgPotassium: 1 mgSugar: 33 gCalcium: 4 mgIron: 0.02 mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2011 Tessa Kiros. Photo © 2011 Manos Chatzikonstantis. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

WOW! This ouzo sorbet should be eaten while watching Mamma Mia! Delicious! A light, refreshing, simple-to-make summer dessert. I don’t have an ice cream maker, so I did it via the freezer method, and my guests went wild over it. This is worth buying a bottle of ouzo for if you don’t already have some because it’s a recipe that you’ll want to make again and again. You could also substitute other things like limoncello.

Ouzo sorbet! What a great summer (adult) treat ! The process couldn’t have been easier, and the result was fairly impressive. I made this on a very hot summer day, and it was very well received as an after-dinner palate cleanser. It could have also worked well as an aperitif before dinner. I used my ice cream maker, but I think freezing the ouzo mixture in a shallow bowl would have worked just as well. I froze the leftovers, and it served up just as well the second time with some light flaking with a fork. I’m already thinking about what other alcohols may work for this recipe.

This ouzo sorbet is easier than easy to throw together. We had sambuca in the house, so that’s what I used for this recipe. Instead of measuring out 7 tablespoons sambuca, I poured a bit short of 1/2 (since 8 tablespoons is equal to 1/2 cup). The final result is cool and refreshing. Perfect for hot summer weather.

About David Leite

David Leite has received three James Beard Awards for his writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

Hungry For More?

Apple Sorbet with Ginger

Pretty in pink is this lovely sorbet, thanks to the inclusion of the entire apple, blush red peel included, as well as a little Geürztraminer for sweet sophistication.

4 hrs 45 mins

New York Super Fudge Chunk

Ben & Jerry, we love you and we always will. But we make our own Super Fudge Chunk now that’s even more riddled with chunks of all sorts of super fudge-y spectacularness.

1 hr

No-Churn Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream

We can’t get enough of this creamy, nutty no-churn ice cream that’s dotted with mini peanut butter cups. We’re willing to bet you’ll feel the same way about it.

4 hrs 15 mins

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


  1. I live in Tarpon Springs Florida, which has the highest concentration of Greeks of anywhere in the US — they came here to harvest sponge beds just offshore in the Gulf and families came along. Want broiled octopus? This is the place. I’d make this with limoncello. Yum.

    1. Jean, I liked broiled octopus, although I prefer it grilled! And, yes, I think limoncello would make a great option for this.