The slushie cocktail of my dreams

By / Wine + Drinks / September 15th, 2020 / 22
Dave Mitton slushie cocktail

Spain is my all-time favourite country to drink in. Sure, the food, art and scenery are good, too. But people like me fall most deeply in love with the Sidra, Manzanilla, Vermut, and (of course) Cava. Then, once home, we spend much time hunting down these liquid treasures.

Thankfully, my local selection of Spanish drink has improved over the years. Although, sadly, I am yet to find Sorbete de Limón al Cava. Like Italian Sgroppino, this slushie cocktail of my dreams is a simple blend of two of my favorite things: sparkling wine and lemon sherbet.

I recalled a conversation I had had about Sorbete being the perfect summer drink. The conversation was with Dave Mitton, global brand ambassador for Lot 40, Pike Creek and J.P. Wiser’s, and former owner of Toronto’s Czehoski and the Harbord Room (both now closed, sadly). I turned to Mitton to understand why this crowd-pleaser seems to be largely absent from bars in Canada.

“Back around 2005, we had [Sorbete] and Kalimotxo (red wine and coke) at Czehoski,” says Mitton. “But they didn’t last. Toronto just wasn’t into them.”

It seems that Mitton was ahead of his time as the Bellini was the only slushie cocktail people drank back then. “Later on, at Harbord Room, we offered a house-made spiked root beer float drink. It worked so well that we couldn’t keep up with demand,” he says. “But we had to keep running downstairs to get the ice cream because there was no room for a freezer behind the bar, so we had to take it off the menu.”

If it were not for such logistic challenges, I think we would see many more sherbet, granita and gelato drinks on cocktail lists. The demand is there and plenty of Spanish and Italian restaurants and bars are eager to serve up a taste of southern Europe.

But what does that even matter when making Sorbete at home is so simple? Serve it for dessert, as a palate cleanser or as a cocktail on a hot day.

Sorbete de Limón al Cava

3 oz Cava
1/2 cup lemon sorbete or granita
1/4 oz heavy cream (optional)
1 sprig mint (garnish)

Blend everything but the mint in a blender. Serve in a flute with a mint sprig for garnish.

It is so easy to make and experiment with. Put your own spin on it by trying different herbs, flavours and wines (I am looking at you, Lambrusco), or adding a shot of your favourite liqueur (Chartreuse, anyone?).


Christine Sismondo is a National Magazine Award-Winning drinks columnist and the author of Mondo Cocktail: A Shaken and Stirred History as well as America Walks into a Bar: A Spirited History of Taverns and Saloons, Speakeasies and Grog Shops.

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