In the past two years I have been finding more and more ice cream recipes, as everyone in America seems to have discovered that what you get at the supermarket is nowhere near what you can make at home. Trouble was, I was NOT in America, and I did not have an ice cream maker, nor could I even dream of affording one. So I spent my time filing away frozen dessert ideas, and now that I’m ensconced in my parents’ kitchen until next Saturday, I pulled out the ice cream maker to play with the recent Tuesdays With Dorie Blueberry Sour Cream Ice Cream. (I used blackberries, brown sugar, and lime. Two thumbs up.)

But, you know, that ice cream maker is heavy. So why not just leave it out on the counter for a bit longer, and get my – er, my parents’ – money’s worth out of it? Result: It’s sorbet madness over here. I’ve got a friend coming to visit this weekend, and I hope she’s bringing a spoon.

I’ve learned that a couple of tablespoons of booze keeps it scoopable, since the alcohol won’t freeze solid, and I’ve basically been following a 2 cups liquid : 1 cup sugar ratio, always with a dash of something citrusy. If you’ve got a well-stocked pantry, you can make some pretty outrageous sorbets, and if you’ve got a decently-stocked pantry, you can still make some awfully neat ones.

When I was living at home for the three months between Peace Corps assignments, a couple of years ago, I made a giant order to a Middle Eastern online grocery, and last week, I found some remnants of that order (in the liquor cabinet, heaven knows why): rose syrup and orange blossom water. Orange blossom water, also called orange flower water, costs an arm and a leg in tiny little blue bottles at your Finer Grocery Shoppes, but if you buy it online, or if there’s a Middle Eastern grocery in your town, you can get a bigger size at a better price.

Rose syrup is available online, too, or you can buy some rosewater – more widely available and less expensive than orange blossom water. It won’t turn the sorbet pink like my fluorescent-dyed syrup did, but you can also use it with sparkling water to make a nice rose soda. (This is my other favorite thing to do this summer – I’ve made fig soda, too, with some of the syrup that I also used in the roasted peppers.) Of course, you could make your own rose syrup, with rosewater and sugar.

If you really pushed me to pick a favorite from these, I’d go with the coconut. It’s vegan paradise – creamy without the soy aftertaste that so often plagues dairy-free desserts. It’s not too sweet, and it’s a classic combination of ingredients in perfect summer form. It’s hard to call this one ahead of the others, though – the feeling of eating pure frozen flower essences from the lavender/rose and orange blossom sorbets, and the simple bliss of the watermelon… You really should just make them all.

But if you make the lavender/rose one, take a nice picture for me – our batch got eaten before I could whip out the camera.

Lavender Rose Sorbet
I served this with some rosewater-soaked almonds on top.

2 cups water
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon dried food-grade lavender flowers
juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon rose syrup or rosewater
2 tablespoons vodka

In a saucepan over high heat, bring water, sugar, and lavender to a boil. Let simmer 5 minutes, then turn off the heat and leave to steep for another 10. Strain and mix with lime juice, rose syrup, and vodka, then freeze according to your ice cream maker’s manufacturer’s directions.

Watermelon Sorbet
Not that watermelon ever needed to be improved. I love watermelon and rose together, so if you want to put in a splash of rosewater, no one’s going to stop you.

flesh from around 3 pounds of watermelon, black seeds removed
1/4 cup water
1 cup sugar
juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons vodka

Mash up the watermelon a bit and put it in a saucepan over high heat with water and sugar , and bring it to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Put this mixture in a blender with lemon juice and vodka, and buzz until smooth. Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s manufacturer’s directions.

Coconut Lime Sorbet

This one needs much less sugar due to the natural sweetness of the coconut. I used palm sugar, which has a subtle grassy flavor, and is also a southeast Asian staple. If you don’t have it, though, regular cane sugar will do fine. Brown sugar might be nice, as well as a dash of rum instead of vodka. You could also split a vanilla bean and put it in to simmer with the coconut milk; I didn’t have one around, so I just used vanilla extract.

11 oz coconut milk (I used two 5.5-oz cans) or coconut cream
1/2 cup water
juice and zest of 2 limes
1/2 cup palm sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons vodka

In a saucepan over high heat, bring coconut milk, water, lime juice, and sugar to a boil. Simmer, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and add vanilla and vodka; freeze according to your ice cream maker’s manufacturer’s directions, adding the zest towards the end of freezing time.

Orange Blossom Sorbet

Also needs less sugar. Jasmine green tea could be fun.

1 cup fresh orange juice
1 cup water
2 bags plain green tea
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon orange blossom water
2 tablespoons vodka
zest of 1 orange

In a saucepan over high heat, bring orange juice, water, green tea, and sugar to a boil. Simmer, stirring until sugar dissolves, then remove from heat and let steep 5 minutes. Combine with orange blossom water and vodka and freeze according to ice cream maker’s manufacturer’s directions, adding orange zest towards the end of freezing time.