Negroni Sorbetto

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I have this awful habit, as a blogger, of never getting things posted in time and they just drag on year after year. The fact that I’ve never posted my Tom and Jerry recipe is one of those casualties. I get busy during the holidays, and every year I don’t remember to post it until February, when nobody wants to read about the Tom and Jerry ever again, much less drink one.

This recipe is like that. Ever since I posted about the Blended Negroni a few years ago, I’ve wanted to get this Negroni Sorbetto recipe (you can call it a sorbet if you like, they’re the same thing) I’ve been working on up in time for Negroni Week. Well, once again Negroni Week came and went… or so I thought.

Thanks to this horrifying pandemic we’re in the midst of, Negroni Week has been postponed until September. Which gave me more than enough time to get my act together and finalize this project I’ve been tinkering away at for the past two years. Here’s how it all came about:

I began by doing a little research online to see if anyone had a half-decent recipe for Negroni sorbet. I found a few recipes out there online, tried them, and quickly realized that most of them are… god-awful. Sorry. I mean, I hate to say it but throwing a Negroni in the freezer and calling it a sorbet isn’t how that’s done. That’s not how you turn a cocktail into a frozen treat; that’s how you make a shitty version of boozy granita.

A cocktail made into a sorbet(to) should be, first and foremost, a sorbet; something you eat, as opposed to a strong cocktail you drink. It should therefore be recognizable as a dessert or palate cleanser, with just enough booze to make it register as the drink you’re trying to suggest.

There’s so much more to making sorbet(to) than just freezing a cocktail that you think is good:

  • The texture should be creamy and smooth.
  • The dish itself should be balanced, and as we learned with the Blended Negroni a few years ago, maintaining balance in frozen drinks and desserts is different than balancing a normal cocktail.
  • The color should be bright and appetizing.

I took much of my inspiration and education for this project from a really fantastic 2014 article from Max Falkowitz over at Serious Eats where he outlines the whole process, including measuring brix to achieve the ideal creaminess. (If you didn’t pick up a cheap refractometer for the slushie machine project, you might want to get one if you plan on adapting this recipe to other cocktails)

The other piece of equipment you’re going to need is an ice cream maker. Please don’t attempt this without one, because the aeration you get from churning is of paramount importance when making a dessert like this (I personally use this older discontinued Cuisinart model I picked up years ago) You can also find them from time to time at thrift stores, it’s honestly also where I find many of my masticating juicers for the bar. A side benefit to having an ice cream machine is you can make ice cream and non-alcoholic sorbets at home. My bible for this is my pal David Lebovitz‘ terrific book The Perfect Scoop.

Okay, enough backstory, let’s get into the recipe straight away. As always, thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy the recipe.

Negroni Sorbet Print Me

  • 16 oz (500 ml) orange juice
  • 8 oz (250 ml) 2:1 simple syrup or light corn syrup
  • 3 oz (100 ml) water
  • 1.5 oz (45 ml) gin
  • 1.5 oz (45 ml) sweet vermouth
  • 1.5 oz (45 ml) Campari
  1. In a bowl or large container, combine all ingredients.
  2. Pour mixture into an airtight container and refrigerate for at least 24 hours.
  3. The next day, assemble your ice cream maker, pour in the mixture, and operate according to the manufacturer's instructions until sorbet is complete. (Mine takes about 45 minutes)
  4. Scoop finished sorbet into an airtight container and store in the freezer for two hours. This step is important, you want your sorbet to harden.
  5. Scoop, garnish as you like, and serve immediately.
  6. Makes approximately one quart (about a liter)

Notes:

  • Be sure to strain your orange juice. And please use freshly-squeezed. I assure you that you don’t want pulp in your sorbet, and buying this one ingredient pre-squeezed from the grocery store isn’t going to save you any time and it’s certainly not going to make the end result taste any better.
  • Do not skip the refrigeration step. This needs to be as cold as possible before it goes into the ice cream maker. Skip this step and you’ll end up with an inferior product. Just trust me on this one, we’re going for texture and your sorbet mix needs to be very very cold in order to achieve that texture. Our residential refrigerators are not very powerful, so please promise me that you’ll chill this for at least 24 hours prior to putting it in the ice cream maker.
  • I’m using a drier sweet vermouth than, say, Carpano Antica Formula here. I’ve never liked Antica in a Negroni (the end result always ends up tasting like a Tootsie Roll to me) and I suspect that if you’re going to use it here you might need to dial back the sugar a little. But I don’t know for certain, because I don’t have any Antica Formula at home. Get yourself some Dolin, Cinzano, or Martini and Rossi for this project (and those last two especially will make your all of your Negronis so much better)
  • If you’re using the sort of ice cream maker that has a bowl you place in the freezer beforehand, be sure to do that a day ahead as well. I throw mine in the freezer at the same time I put the mix in the fridge. Remember, it needs to freeze for at least 24 hours prior to churning.
  • Look, this recipe is meant to be for bartenders and people who make drinks at home. I’m making the assumption that you have 2:1 simple syrup on hand (you really should). If the recipe seems a little weird to you in that I’m specifying simple syrup and water, that’s why. Just make a batch of simple and keep it in the fridge, you’re going to want it anyway. And be sure it’s 2:1 simple syrup, okay? This is important.
  • You’re probably wondering about the corn syrup. If you’re a serious home cook or restaurant professional you probably know the reason why I suggested it: the texture you get from corn syrup is superior to regular sugar. Now, I realize some people freak out about corn syrup, so that’s why I included 2:1 simple as an option as well. If you’d like to learn more about corn syrup in sorbets and food in general, I once again refer to David Lebovitz, who said it better than I could ever pretend to.

Recipe printed courtesy of jeffreymorgenthaler.com

11 Replies to “Negroni Sorbetto”

  • Despite how amazing this sounds, the best part is knowing that if/when I make it my kids and wife won’t like it. It’s everything I want in a frozen dessert. Excited to try it. Any Gin recommendations? I assume a lot gets lost with the cold and such.

  • Evelyn says:

    We really do need your Tom & Jerry recipe. At least I do! We had an overly sweet batter available around the holidays in Wisconsin that everyone used. I tried one recipe I found on the web and, seriously, I would have killed to have that overly sweet batter instead. Haven’t had a good Tom & Jerry for decades. 🙁

  • Jon says:

    Angostura Bitters and Vanilla I’ve Cream is one of my favorite things. Might need to try something like this with that combo.

  • I can’t wait to try this. FYI, The Curious Cook (Harold McGee’s amazing follow-up to On Food and Cooking) has an insanely useful chapter on all manner of sorbet, ices, etc. It’s out of print, but not hard to find. Here, for example.
    https://amzn.to/3hIUG0y

  • Antoinette Huss says:

    I made the Negroni Sorbetto for friends last night. I chilled the mixture for 24 hours and then processed it for 30 before freezing for 2 hours. I still ended up with slush, but I will not give up! The flavor is amazing and I will try it again.

    I used Antica because I thought that was all I had. Back in the dark places of the liqueur cabinet, Dolin and Cinzano proved me wrong.

  • JJ says:

    This is really fantastic. Thanks. Used Tanqueray and Dolin. Have a base with Beefeater currently in the fridge. First batch was a little slushy. Might move the base to the freezer for a few hours before putting through the machine.

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