Tipsy Watermelon Sorbet

watermelon sorbet

Cool down this summer with watermelon sorbet spiked with lime juice and vodka.

Long before ice cream became the frozen dessert of choice, it is said the Roman Emperor Nero sent runners great distances to fetch buckets of snow to be flavored with honey and wine to be served at the end of opulent banquets. Similar tales emerge in Asian culture as flavored ices became a luxurious treat among the affluent. The simple blend of ice, sugar, fruit flavorings and sometimes alcohol eventually took a back seat to ice cream, especially when refrigeration became commonplace. Sorbet never really went away, but has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity as a light, bold and elegant palate cleanser in restaurants and even at home.

We’re not ready to give up ice cream just yet, but with watermelons finally in season and temperatures soaring, this homemade watermelon sorbet tastes like summer. Cool, refreshing and spiked with vodka, cocktail hour is back in session, but now comes with a spoon.

The vodka in this recipe isn’t strictly required, but it does more than just add kick. Because the alcohol does not freeze, it gives this sorbet a soft, smooth texture and helps prevent this seasonal treat from freezing solid if you leave it in the freezer too long.  If you choose to skip the booze, keep a closer eye on the sorbet during its final freeze and use a fork to break it up if it becomes too chunky.

No ice cream maker? You’re not out of luck, but the process is a lot less convenient. Pour the sorbet into a shallow dish, place it in the freezer and give it a good stir every half hour until it reaches the desired consistency.

Tipsy Watermelon Sorbet

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 7 cups seedless watermelon chunks
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 cup vodka, chilled

Combine sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil to create a simple syrup.

Chill simple syrup in the refrigerator.

Place watermelon, lime juice and vodka in a food processor and pulse until smooth.

Add simple syrup and pulse to thoroughly combine.

Place sorbet in your ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s directions.

Transfer into an airtight container and place in freezer 4-5 hours until sorbet is firm.

Scoop into dishes and garnish with mint leaves to serve.

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