Sorbet is a dessert of the virtuous sort and thus, one that rarely interests me for the sake of dessert itself. The initial motivation for me to make this pink grapefruit sorbet was, in fact, a cocktail. We’ll talk more about the cocktail in a few days when I share that recipe, but in the meantime let’s discuss this sorbet a bit further because it just so happens that it is worthy of consideration as a dessert in its own right.

As it turns out, the qualities in grapefruit that made me initially skeptical and slow to come around are the very same qualities that make it stand out among other fruits as a sorbet that really sings. The slight sweetness of the syrup in the base hits the tongue first, but that sweet note is almost instantly balanced out by the bright tartness of the grapefruit.

Like most sorbet recipes, this one includes a few tablespoons of alcohol to make it more scoopable and prevent an overly icy texture (particularly important in sorbets made with solely with fruit juice and none of the flesh or pulp.) After some musings in front of my liquor cabinet I opted for Aperol and I must say, its bitter herbal tones are a perfect finishing note for this sorbet. I recommend adding it to your collection if you haven’t already – it is lovely for mixing into many things and Aperol spritz are one of the best darn cocktails around, in my opinion. If you are able to withstand using every last scoop of this in cocktails, I think you will agree that it stands perfectly well on its own as a light and refreshing dessert.

  • Yield about 1 quart


  • 3 cups (750 ml) freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice, divided
  • ¾ cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2-3 tbsp. (30-45 ml) Aperol


  • 01

    In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup of the grapefruit juice with the sugar. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is fully dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir the grapefruit syrup back into the remaining 2 cups of grapefruit juice. Stir in the Aperol. Cover, transfer to the refrigerator, and chill thoroughly.

  • 02

    Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to a storage container and keep frozen until ready to serve.