Blood Orange and Solerno Sorbetto


I know it is winter. I know it is cold. But it is also blood orange season which, like winter, will not last forever. The deal is though, unless you are the patient type, willing to gather those rosy orbs, juice them, freeze the juice and cool your heels until warm evenings roll around, you’d better make this sorbetto now. For Valentine’s Day dessert, of course.


This is no ordinary sorbetto – the blood orange flavor is amped up with the addition of Solerno, a blood orange liquor from Sicily. I always describe Solerno as a blood orange grove in a bottle. Try it once, and you will know what I mean.

Known in Italy for hundreds of years, blood oranges can be grown with great success in warm climes, although they do require cold nights to ripen properly. I’ve got three trees in my yard, one of each of the three main varieties, Moro, Sanguinello and Tarocco. You’ll need to adjust the amount of simple syrup you add to the sorbetto base depending on the sweetness of the blood oranges. Moro is my favorite cultivar. They are the darkest and almost seedless, with a pronounced raspberry undertone. They are however, the most tart. I used Sanguinello oranges this time around.


Blood Orange and Solerno Sorbetto

makes about 3 cups

2 cups blood orange juice
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons Solerno Blood Orange Liquor

Make rich simple syrup: combine sugar and water in small saucepan. Heat over medium to dissolve sugar, swirling pan occasionally. Bring to boil. Boil 1 minute, and remove from heat. Transfer to glass measuring cup to cool.

Combine orange juice and 3/4 cup rich simple syrup. Refrigerate to chill completely. When chilled, check again for sweetness, adding more simple syrup if necessary. Place in gelato/ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to freezer container, cover tightly and freeze 2 hours to cure.

Churning Blood-Orange-Sorbetto

Note: You can click on any picture for a slide show!

I have no affiliation with any product, manufacturer, or site mentioned in this article.

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  1. Comment by Rosa:

    It looks divine! A wonderful recipe.



    • Comment by Adri:

      Benvenuta, Rosa!

      The blood orange season is short, so I am making the best of it. I love that something so delicious is so good for us.

      Thank you for visiting my site. I hope you return often.

  2. Comment by

    Adri — this looks absolutely heavenly — I could use one right now! I just love the Sicilian blood oranges. I have been stopping by the fruttivendolo in my neighborhood regularly these days and each time I get 10 Tarocchi oranges. They are so delicious to eat and for making spremuta. Do you know if Tarrochi are the same thing as Blood Oranges? They are not always red inside so I am not sure. Anyway, whatever they are, they are delicious.

    • Comment by Adri:

      Hi Trisha,

      I bet you could use a dish of this about now, just for some refreshment. Each time I hear anything about the Pope or the Catholic clergy I think of you.

      Tarocchi are indeed blood oranges. The Tarocco orrange is one of the three main cultivars, the other being are Moro and Sanguinello. The Tarocco is the sweetest variety with skin and flesh that are not as dark as that of the Moro or Sanguinello. The red color in these citrus is due to the presence of anthocyanins – powerful antioxidants. All blood oranges need cool nights to develop their full complement of anthocyanins, thus their color at harvest is quite dependent on the whims of Mother Nature.

  3. Comment by Majella Home Cooking:

    Solerno! I’ve never had it! I can’t wait to pick up a bottle. Grazie, Adri!

    • Comment by Adri:

      Michelle, you will love it. Get ready for a wonderful surprise – first when you see the bottle. It is spectacular, and has won awards for design. And then you get a giant hit of orange blossoms when you open it, and the flavor is like Sicilian sunshine. It is smooth and light, not sticky like Gran Marnier because it is sweetened with beet sugar rather than corn syrup. You will be hooked!

  4. Comment by simona:

    Fantastic sorbetto end interesting recipe with solerno!! Good!:** kiss Adri:)

  5. Comment by rita cooks italian:

    I do not know this liquor. It must be very interesting! I should look for it when I go back home. A sorbetto is always welcome…even during the winter and the sweet bloody oranges are perfect for a delicious San Valentine treat.

    • Comment by Adri:

      Thanks, Rita, Solerno is wonderful. Its flavor is pure orange and the scent is heavy with orange blossoms. It is made by William Grant & Sons of the UK, makers of Hendrick’s gin. You may find it in London.

      Here’s my article on Solerno.
      Thank you for visiting!

  6. Comment by Chiara:

    Non conosco il Solerno ma l’aspetto di questo sorbetto è veramente magnifico! Buona settimana cara Adri, un abbraccio !

    • Comment by Adri:

      Chiara, Solerno e un liquore da Sicilia, piene di sapore di arance rosse e limone, assolutamente fantastico. Spero che e possibile trovare una bottiglia. Un bacione!

  7. Comment by Ely:

    Cara… ma lo sai che io ai sorbetti e ai gelati non resisto nemmeno d’inverno?? Un gelatino la sera non me lo leva nessuno :))) Che idea raffinata e deliziosa per San Valentino!! Un abbraccio e un bacione di cuore!

  8. Comment by Ciao Chow Linda:

    Oh my, you know when you posted the meyer lemon gelato, I got to thinking that it’s blood orange season and a blood orange gelato or sorbet would be wonderful. And here you are posting one. How lucky for you that you have those trees right in your back yard. And now it’s time for me to get some Solerno. THAT I can find at my local liquor store, even if the Barolo Chinato is evading me.

    • Comment by Adri:

      This will be excellent even without the Solerno. However, it is pretty easy to come by these days. When I first started writing about it Solerno was quite hard to come by, but over the last year it has won numerous spirits awards and almost every big liquor store stocks it. Enjoy!

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