Sorbet is a frozen dessert made from sweetened water flavored with fruit (typically juice or purée), wine, and/or liqueur. Sorbet is variously explained as either a Roman or Persian invention. The name comes from the Latin verb "sorbere" and the modern Italian verb sorbire, meaning to eat and drink at the same time. The noun form, sorbetto, is a mixture of a solid and liquid food. The term sherbet or charbet is derived from the Turkish şerbet, "sorbet", from the Persian sharbat, which in turn comes from the Arabic شربات sharbāt meaning "drink(s)" or "juice." Sorbet is sometimes served between courses as a way to cleanse the palate before the main course.
Sorbet is often confused with Italian ice and often taken to be the same as sherbet.
Sorbets/sherbets may also contain alcohol, which lowers the freezing temperature, resulting in softer texture. In the UK and Australia, sherbet refers to a fizzy powder, and only the term sorbet would be used.
Whereas ice cream is based on dairy products with air copiously whipped in, sorbet has neither, which makes for a dense and extremely flavourful product. Sorbet is served as a non-fat or low-fat alternative to ice cream.