Pink Lemonade Lavender Thyme Sorbet

Pink Lemonade Lavender Thyme Sorbet -

When we go out for ‘ice cream’ in the summer it has become a complete learning experience.  Gone are the days of merely going to an ‘ice cream parlor’; these days one needs to be versant in the international equivalents of our all American warm weather treat.  Excluding Dippin’ Dots and snow cones there are a half dozen versions of ice cream to choose from readily available in most urban areas.  It’s great to have choices but not if you have no idea what they all are.  I put together a little primer to up your ice cream IQ before we dive headlong into the frozen dessert season.  The basic key separation is whether they are dairy or water/juice based, and then whether they contain eggs or not.

Non-Dairy Frozen Desserts

Sorbet:  a frozen dessert made from sweetened water and/or simple syrup, fruit/juice or wine and/or liqueur.  The term ‘sorbet’ is French in origin.

Sorbetto:  an Italian term for what is essentially a sorbet.  There is debate as to whether sorbet and sorbetto are identically equivalent, or if Sorbetto is actually a creamier version but they are both a dairy-free, egg-free fruit and water based frozen dessert.

Granita:  the same base mixture as sorbet but it is not made in an ice cream machine.  It is frozen in a container, stirred while freezing yielding a more rustic, grainier texture.

Dairy and/or egg Frozen Desserts

Ice Cream:  a creamy frozen dessert made from milk and/or cream, often with a custard (egg) base, incorporating other flavors.

Ice Milk: a frozen dessert similar to ice cream but made with milk instead of cream and containing less butterfat leaving it less creamy than standard ice cream.

Sherbet or sherbert:  a frozen dessert whose main ingredients include fruit juice, sugar and water but also milk, egg whites and/or a stabilizer such as gelatin.

Gelato:  most similar to ice cream, Italian in origin, gelato is denser than American ice cream due to containing less butterfat (usually less than half the normal amount in American ice cream) as well as its freezing method introduces less air leaving it more dense.

Sparkling Pink Lemonade -

I love ice cream as much as the next girl.  In fact early on after starting Boulder Locavore I became so smitten with David Lebovitz’sThe Perfect Scoop’, which I believe to be the best collection of homemade ice cream recipes, I decided to ‘Julie and Julia’ my way through the entire cookbook and record photos and tasting notes on my blog.  As delicious as was the endeavor, I quickly realized were I ever to be interested in wearing something more form fitting than a potato sack, it probably was not the best choice for blog subject matter.

Something else I realized (not at the hand of The Perfect Scoop); every time I eat ice cream I end up very thirsty.  Does that happen to you?  It’s ironic that what really presents itself as a cooling treat ends up making one pant like a dog.  So as our heat climbs and I dream of food options to cool off, I have begun to envision Sorbet.

Pink Lemonade Lavender Thyme Sorbet -

The other evening the recipe development wheels began spinning with a fixation on the idea of Pink Lemonade sorbet.  I am charmed by the color pink in a food and felt making a sorbet from pink lemonade would be sublime.  I rarely settle on the basics loving to layer flavors, so mentally began whirling through what else would make a perfect match with the pink lemonade.  I decided Lavender and Thyme would do the trick and was off to the store at 8 p.m. to make it.  I’m a bit of a ‘dog with a bone’ when the recipe experimentation mood strikes.

Pink Lemonade Lavender Thyme Sorbet -

Pink Lemonade Lavender Thyme Sorbet -

Despite being in the mid 80’s it clearly is not yet full-fledged pink lemonade season.  The normal set of options were down to one; a naturally-flavored brand of sparkling pink lemonade.  Natural flavoring was a must and I decided experimentation with the sparkling part would be okay with me.  I learned later that though the sorbet was beautifully colored and flavored, the carbonation yielded a very light frozen dessert that did not adhere in the usual denser perfect scoops.  Something that could easily be overlooked for my purposes but a lesson learned I’ll share with you!

My crew of overheated taste testers loved the sorbet.  Each the flavors of the lemonade, lavender and thyme were individually discernible and worked together to produce an elevated and sophisticated taste of summer while truly quenching the thirst.  I think sorbet can be thought of to be somewhat ‘wimpy’ in flavor when compared to ice cream but I’m here to say ‘not so’.  This sorbet does not disappoint.  You’ll be cooler for serving it; literally and socially!

Pink Lemonade Lavender Thyme Sorbet -

Pink Lemonade Lavender Thyme Sorbet

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 4-5 cups of sorbet

This sorbet is cooling, thirst-quenching and packed with sophisticated flavors of thyme and lavender to compliment the Pink Lemonade.


  • 4 cups naturally-flavored Pink Lemonade (non-sparkling)
  • ½ cup granulated Sugar
  • 6 small sprigs of fresh Thyme
  • 1 teaspoon of dried (culinary) Lavender
  • 2 tablespoons Citronage (or equivalent orange liqueur), optional
  • Suggested garnish: edible flowers


  1. Combine the lemonade, thyme, lavender and sugar in a heavy small pan. Bring to a light simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Allow to simmer for 2-3 minutes. Turn off heat, allow to cool for 5 minutes, cover and refrigerate until chilled or overnight.
  2. Strain mixture (discarding the thyme and lavender), stir in the Citronage if using and process in an ice cream maker until frozen. Place in a sealed container in the freezer until fully set or overnight. Garnish if desired and serve!
  3. Note: if you do not own an ice cream maker, you can freeze the sorbet according to the non-machine method used for Plum Rosemary-Gin Sorbet


  1. Colleen says

    I feel refreshed just looking at the pictures. This will be a must to make for my guests this summer in Sacramento’s 100 degree weather. I think my yard might even provide some edible flowers, in keeping with the “local” theme – doesn’t get more local than that 🙂 Thank you for this delicious and completely new recipe idea.

    • says

      I think each you and your guests will love this! It’s a perfect end to a meal, not to heavy but delivering cool, beautiful flavors. We are fortunate to have a local herb company grow and sell packets of edible flower so we have the opportunity for them before ours are in bloom. Used snapdragons, roses and mint for these little beauties.

  2. says

    I love the color of this! Simply gorgeous (both the sorbet and the pictures). I haven’t made sorbet (or ice cream, for that matter) in quite awhile. Love the thyme in this – just perfect. Thanks so much.

    • says

      John so glad to know I have a kindred spirit about this color. I’m not exactly why but I think it registers as being cooling or something but I too completely love it. I don’t make ice cream that often myself but the idea of sorbet seemed light and perfect for the heat! Thanks for popping by!

    • says

      Thanks Lindsay (and nice to *see* you here!). I’m crazy for this color. It feels very happy and sweet to me. The sorbet really took the edge off the heat with such an interesting flavor profile. And so easy to make (love that). Hope all is well for you!

  3. says

    This sorbet looks so refreshing I want to whip out my ice cream maker right away and get going! Just beautiful … and I can’t wait to try it out.
    By the way ice-cream makes us thirsty because of its high sugar content, and I imagine this would be true of most sugar-rich things that we eat: just the body’s response to a sugar high!

    • says

      Interesting about the sugar content Needful Things. I assumed it had to do with the dairy component as I am never thristy after sorbet. In either case this sorbet IS refreshing and the color adds to that effect too I think!

    • says

      I’m so glad you like it Jennifer! I think there is something beguiling about this color pink. You just know it’s going to be refreshing!

  4. says

    Okay, you’ve GOT to be kidding me! This is one of the prettiest things I’ve seen in a long time. Can’t wait to put it together this summer. My kids are going to love it! Thanks, as always.

  5. says

    Toni, I must have missed this post, but I caught it on Pinterest 🙂 It looks delicious and perfect for this Colorado summer which is hot, hot, hot! I went to Hoot N Howl last week to pick strawberries, but the patch was closed. I wasn’t so disappointed because they did have rose petals for sale. So I bought about 1 cup and picked up the David Lebovitz’s (adapted) recipe for Rose Lemon Sorbet, which was sitting on the farm stand table. I just made the sorbet and it was so good, despite the very muted taste of the rose water. Have you made it yet? Inspired by that sorbet and this one you posted, I decided to “Julie and Julia” my way through at least part of The Perfect Scoop…thanks for confirming that I really do need to get this book!

    • says

      Hi Batya! My apologies for the late response to your comment! I have not tried that recipe though have made some recipes with rose flavors. David Lebovitz’s book (all of them) are really great. You may already know this but Hoot and Howl farm announces their hours and picking days on their Facebook page. It helps to track things there as often they won’t know when picking will happen next until the end of a given picking day (or the morning of a given day). Thanks for commenting!

  6. Mishelle says

    This looks really good – I don’t have the lavender though so I have to go look at the specialty store for it.



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