I Never Entertain Without This Simple 3-Ingredient Cocktail From Venice, Italy

dessert cocktail

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It sounds fancy and exotic when I call it an “after dinner drink” and mention that a charming Italian waiter shared the recipe with me while I was visiting Venice, Italy with my dad. But the truth is, sgroppino is the easiest, most low-key dessert cocktail recipe ever—which is precisely why it’s my hostessing secret weapon.

That, and because it’s a total crowd-pleaser, too.

I discovered it on the last day of our trip, when my dad and I were having dinner on the famed island of Murano, at a table that sat right by the edge of the canal. We shared a giant (truly, giant) skillet full of handmade noodles topped with tons of fresh seafood—mussels, clams, prawns, you name it. As a seafood lover and self-proclaimed pasta connoisseur, I was in heaven. To this day, that’s still my favorite meal I’ve ever had. 


Maryn Liles

But it’s what came after dinner that really sealed the deal: two complimentary glasses of sgroppino.

I’d never tried it before; I’d never even heard of it. But in that first sip, I became a devoted fan based on the taste alone—and that was before I found out how easy it is to make!

Our waiter, Alesso, happily scribbled down the recipe on a torn-out page page from his ordering book when I asked him how I could recreate it at home.

sgroppino recipe

Maryn Liles

Sgroppino has been my signature after-dinner crowd-pleaser ever since.

That makes it sound like I’m a natural hostess—but that couldn’t be further from the truth. If I’m being honest, I’m a total slacker when it comes to cooking for friends and family. I tend to like the idea of having people over for dinner more than the reality of it, which is why any life hack that makes the day-of festivities go a bit more smoothly is a winner in my book.

Enter: sgroppino. 

For starters, the recipe, which originated in Venice, has only three ingredients: vodka, lemon ice cream, and sparkling wine. (Read: I don’t have to buy a bunch of extra groceries.) The amounts of each ingredient are approximate, too, so it’s almost impossible to make it wrong.

Add in the fact that it takes just a few seconds to make and doubles as dessert, and you can see why serving my guests a glass of sgroppino after dinner is my favorite hostessing trick in the book. There’s a refreshing lightness to sgroppino thanks to the combo of lemon and bubbly, so it’s not too heavy after a big meal—yet just the right amount of creamy sweetness to be considered a “dessert”. 

Plus, since most people have never tried it, it’s the perfect, no-fuss treat to end the night with.


  • Lemon ice cream
  • Vodka
  • Sparkling white wine


  1. Spoon a small scoop of lemon ice cream into a flute glass, about 60 percent of the way full.
  2. Pour a shot of vodka on top, so your flute is three-quarters of the way full.
  3. Top with sparkling white wine and serve immediately.

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