Long gone are the days when summer meant three months of beachy bliss, pool parties on a Wednesday at noon and running after the ice cream truck with 50 cents in hand. Wouldn’t it be nice to experience this just once more?
Drown in nostalgia no longer–ice cream socials are a thing and Hillary Needle, president of Hillary Needle Events Inc., shared her insider tips for hosting a gathering that evokes nostalgia with a grown-up twist.
“Greet your guests with a champagne or Prosecco cocktail with a popsicle,” said Needle. Purchase a few boxes of assorted flavors, red, white and blue ice pops, or make them from scratch using fruit juice. The perfect pairing is “old school diner food; think mini grilled cheeses, French fries and sliders to soak up the cocktail.”
An ice cream social is obviously not complete without ice cream, but think outside the carton by offering your socialites gelato and sorbet. “Go old school with chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, mint chip and add some artisanal flavors like salted caramel, espresso and hazelnut.”
For the ultimate ice cream sandwich combination, have mini waffles and an assortment of cookies, but if someone is trying to maintain their summer 2k16 beach bod, have berries and fruit in individual jars.
Use a kitchen island if the party is indoors, but a large picnic table in the shade is great for serving outdoors.
Each item should also be visually appealing. Serve the goodies “in big galvanized tubs with lots of ice and scoopers.” And make sure to have some mini spoons for taste testing. “Display the toppings in fun containers, like mason jars, mini buckets, Chinese food containers and display the variety of ice cream cones on a tiered stand.”
Needle suggests a pastel theme, or black and white with a pop of color. Use those colors to decorate cocktail tables and high tops. For centerpieces, “put some jax, jump ropes and cards on the tables and that way it’s evocative of childhood and it’s also fun!” Continue that theme outdoors with oversized games–you can rent giant Jenga, Twister, dominos, chess and checkers to set up in the backyard.
Mini chalkboards and decorative cardstock on popsicle sticks propped inside a mason far filled with candy make for great signage to show guests what’s what.
Creating a signature sundae and milkshake recipe and putting it on a larger chalkboard is also a great way to make a fun, DIY environment.
What makes an ice cream social “adult?” A little spike. Add a shot to the milkshake recipe and “pair some wines, signature cocktails or shots with the ice creams, like a coconut martini or margarita shooters that go with the lime and lemon and mango sorbets.”