Champagne Sorbet

I love cooking with friends, so when Garrett came over with a bottle of champagne in hand and a suggestion to make champagne sorbet for New Years, I was all over it. Unfortunately, our first two attempts were miserable failures (well, not completely, they made great punch). The problem with trying to freeze champagne, or sparkling wine, is that champagne is 13% alcohol, and alcohol doesn’t freeze, at least not at 32°F. Also, if your sorbet mixture isn’t chilled enough to begin with, it will warm up the freezer bowl of the ice cream maker and the bowl won’t be cold enough to freeze the mixture sufficiently.

Three more attempts and several days later we now have a lovely champagne sorbet. The trick is to boil the champagne with the sugar when you dissolve the sugar, thus boiling away enough of the alcohol so that the sorbet freezes fine. The grapefruit and lemon juices naturally complement the citrus tones of the champagne.

Happy New Year!

Champagne Sorbet Recipe

  • Yield: Makes about 1 quart.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups sparkling wine or champagne
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon and or grapefruit zest
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh grapefruit juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (Meyer if you have access to them)

Method

1 Put champagne, sugar, corn syrup, and zest into a saucepan. Bring to a vigorous boil so that the sugar completely dissolves, remove from heat.

2 Strain into a stainless steel bowl (will help cool down faster), add the grapefruit juice and lemon juice. Chill completely. To do this, either place bowl in a larger bowl half-filled with ice water, and stir until champagne solution is completely cold, refreshing the ice in the outer bowl if necessary. Or you can cover with plastic wrap and chill in your refrigerator over night. I put the bowl in the ice compartment of our freezer for a couple hours, because it fits, chills quickly, and is far enough away from the other food in the freezer.

3 Process the mixture in your ice cream maker (Amazon sells a good one) according to the ice cream maker directions. Transfer mixture to a storage container and freezer in your freezer until firm, at least 6 hours.

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Links:

How to make ice cream without a machine - useful tips from ice cream and sorbet expert David Lebovitz
Raspberry champagne sorbet from The Urban Baker

11 Comments

  1. Garrett

    The grapefruit really does make this sorbet sing. It was worth all the trials to come up with this recipe. =)

  2. Jim Price

    I made your sorbet for New Year’s Eve and it was just amazing! I did not use an ice cream machine but the manual method using a dish and a fork. This will become a yearly favorite.

  3. Jen

    Does this come out still fizzy? I once had champagne sorbet at a restaurant that still had a bit of fizz to it, and have been trying to recreate it ever since.

    No, the fizziness has been cooked out of it. You might serve it with a teaspoon of champagne poured over it, which would probably add some sparkle to it. ~Elise

  4. Scott Guthrie

    For added fizzy to it try getting a block of dry ice and placing the dry ice in a small cooler with the sorbet in an bowl with no lid. Close the cooler and let the sorbet sit in the cooler for several hours to a day. Since dry ice is frozen CO2, it will add the fizz that was lost in making the sorbet.

    Anyone remember getting carbonated ice cream sandwiches from the ice cream truck as a kid?

    Also, has anyone tried this recipe with an Italian sparkling wine like one from the Asti area. They typically are 9% or less alcohol. Perhaps the boiling will not be necessarily?

  5. Nick

    I just tried this recipe and it was excellent :)

    Out of pure laziness I substituted “Simply Grapefruit” juice instead of fresh juice, it added a pink hue but it came out to be a wonderful palate cleansing desert…

    Thanks for figuring out all the details on an amazing recipe.

  6. Jennie

    I just made this recipe with the addition of cranberries for a seasonal Valentine’s Day treat. It was great having your recipe as a guide! The final sorbet was a lucious consistency and the cranberries made it the perfect deep pink for the holiday.
    http://straightfromthefarm.net/2009/02/14/cranberry-champagne-sorbet-recipe/

  7. Carol

    This was so unique and delicious. I still have champagne left from my wedding in Ocotober; this was the perfect use for it. I used fresh orange juice instead of grapefruit juice resulting in a perfectly balanced mimosa sorbet. I served it for brunch with a spinach-bacon quiche and fresh fruit salad. My guests loved it! I poured two tablespoons of champagne over each dish of sorbet just before serving and it really did give it a little extra kick. I will be making this again for sure. Thank you so much!

  8. Jessica

    My mom loved champagne sorbet while pregnant with me (I’m sure it was alcohol free!). With her fiftieth birthday fast approaching, I’m sure this will make a wonderful gift, as she has been unable to find any for sale since then. Thanks for posting this!

  9. Zoe

    What champagne did u use for the champagne sorbet?

    That was four years ago when we posted this. I do not recall which Champagne we used. ~Elise

  10. Jade

    I just got an ice cream maker for xmas and ran across this recipe… I also got an ice cream “cook book” on boozy ice cream and they use gelatin to stabilize the solution so it will freeze (even with a cup of 80 proof in it.) I’m thinking of adapting this recipe to their method to (hopefully) keep some of the fizz! *crosses fingers*

  11. HornCologne

    Have been following along on your site for a while – keep up the good work and thanks for all the great recipes so far!

    Having become wildly suspicious of commercial foods with high-fructose corn syrup, I was wondering why this recipe uses both white sugar and corn syrup. Does the syrup serve another purpose beyond sweetening? Could one substitute “regular” sugar or something else for it?

    HFC and regular corn syrup are two different things. HFC (High Fructose Corn Syrup) is only available to industrial food product makers, not to regular consumers. Regular corn syrup has been used in baking and cooking for generations. For example, pecan pie is made with corn syrup. It’s used a lot in candy making because it helps keep the sugar from crystalizing.In this sorbet, it just helps keep the sorbet smooth, and prevents it from getting too icy. You can skip it if you want, but there is no need to skip it, especially if you have some on hand. ~Elise

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