Sometimes we like to throw it back. As in way back and go all-out on the nostalgia factor. So, for our final Friends Who Fete of the summer we decided to throw and old-school meets new-school Ice Cream Social. Yes, we're talking inviting everyone over to run around, eat enough ice cream until they have a sugar coma, and just hang!
For the occasion, team Friends Who Fete (aka me, Kate of ¡Hola! JALAPEÑO, and Meg of This Mess Is Ours) gathered along with our families to go all-out on all things ice cream. You think Ice Cream Social and you think it's a kids party but, let's be real, everyone can get on board for a party with ice cream. So, this party was as much for the kids (with fun ice cream toppings and an ice cream cone piñata) as it was for the adults (hello, spiked popsicles, boozy ice cream, a Spritz, and coffee caramel sauce).
Read on for the full menu (spoiler alert: there's a lot of sugar involved) and a few tips on how to throw your own Ice Cream Social before summer ends:
Ice Cream Social Menu
No-Churn Vanilla Cream Cheese Ice Cream | ¡Hola! JALAPEÑO
No-Churn Churros Con Chocolate Ice Cream | ¡Hola! JALAPEÑO
No-Churn Blueberry Mezcal Swirl Ice Cream | ¡Hola! JALAPEÑO
Chocolate Chocolate Ice Cream | Salt & Wind
Hazelnut Chocolate "Baci" Ice Cream | Salt & Wind
Chocolate Almond Butter Cup Ice Cream | Salt & Wind
Strawberry Aperol Spritz Poptails | This Mess Is Ours
Mexican Hot Chocolate Sauce | ¡Hola! JALAPEÑO
Coffee Salted Caramel Sauce | Salt & Wind
Gluten Free Waffle Cones | This Mess Is Ours
Let's do a little deeper dive on these ice creams though, shall we? Here are just a few of the recipes that I loved from this party:
Okay, stop what you're doing and go maket this Blueberry Mezcal Swirl Ice Cream ahorita! Kate's love for Mexican food and her Iowa roots mean she basically came up with the most genius recipe ever when she created this no-churn ice cream.
There's never a bad time for churros and, now that I'm gluten-free, I'm all about Kate's Gluten-Free Churros. For the Ice Cream Social, she mixed in these crispy churros with a spiced Mexican chocolate sauce.
About that chocolate sauce though. You could totally just make it without the spices and have a classic chocolate sundae sauce. But add in a few spices and it's a perfect topping for classic ice cream flavors.
Raise your hand if you're as into the chocolate-hazelnut combo that is Nutella, Baci, and Gianduja! I'm so into it that I cannot pass a gelato stand without ordering it. So, this version goes big on that flavor with chocolate ice cream combined with toasted hazlenuts, and layered with a chocolate-hazelnut sauce swirl.
Okay, look. It's hard to get better than the classics when it comes to ice cream so we wanted to make sure we had a few classics like Peanut Butter-Chocolate ice cream represented. This version can be made with Almond Butter and homemade Mini Almond Butter Cups and be sure to serve it with tons more cups because you can never have too many of those!
Around here we're really into Spritz cocktails be they made with Aperol, Campari, classic or Frosé Spritz Cocktail versions. These are fruity, sweet, tart Spritz adult popsicles and, if you wanted to make them even more Spritz-like, you could serve them in a glass of Prosecco.
It's true: I like any dessert 1000 times more as soon as caramel sauce gets involved. For the Ice Cream Social, I made not only a classic Caramel Sauce for the kids but also coffee-spiked a version for a not-as-sweet but just as addictive version.
Let's be real: anytime homemade waffle cones are involved, it's a great party. These waffle cones are not only perfect as cones but you could also keep them flat and use them as mini pizzelle for Italian-inspired ice cream sandwiches. Oh, and they're paleo and gluten free, btw.
Now that we've got the recipes squared away, here are a few tips for how to throw an Ice Cream Social for the books:
- Make It All Ages: So often an Ice Cream Social is just for kids but everyone loves ice cream. Make most of the party items that everyone will enjoy and then a few special recipes (did you see that Blueberry Mezcal Ice Cream or the Coffee Caramel above?) that are just for adults.
- Choose What's Homemade: Don't wear yourself out before the party has started by doing it 100% homemade. Get the classic ice cream flavors (vanilla and chocolate) and one wild card flavor from your favorite local ice cream shop and then make a few unusual ice creams yourself.
- Strategize On The Storebought: But when it comes to storebought stuff, you can pick and choose what you splurge on. Flavors and toppings for the kids? Any quality ice cream will do. But that special topping from your local candy maker? Probably worth the splurge.
- Keep Everything Cold: Of course, the best time to have an Ice Cream Social is the height of summer, which means it'll be you against the heat when it comes to keeping the ice cream cold. To help yourself out, keep everything — the scoops, bowls, spoons, ice cream, etc all in the freezer until you're ready to serve.
- No, Seriously, Really Cold: Oh, and then when it's time to serve, keep it cold by putting the pints of ice cream on ice in a serving bowl. And just bring out a few pints at a time so that you don't have all your ice cream melted in just a few minutes time.
- Set Up A DIY Ice Cream Bar Buffet: People can get really specific about how they like their ice cream sundaes so set up a DIY Ice Cream Bar where you layout the bowls, cones, ice creams, toppings, etc so people can choose their own sundae situation.
- Do It Outdoors: Especially if you have kids around, things will get messy quickly so have the party alfresco where you won't care as much if drips and spills happen.
- Include Games To Work Through The Sugar High: If you have a lot of kids on hand, be sure to include a few activities (like the temporary tattoos, pin the cherry on the ice cream, or piñata we have below) in order to help them work off the sugar and avoid sugar crashes!
Ice Cream Sundae Bar
The best way to serve all this ice cream? Definitely to lay it out as a sundae bar so everyone can choose their own adventure. This is supposed to be a fun, easy party so just make as many of the recipes above as you'd like and then buy the rest to fill in the sundae bar.
Oh, and to bring the cute party vibes, here are some serving cups, napkins, and spoons that would be perfect:
DIY Temporary Ice Cream Tattoos
Whether your guests are kids, adults, or a mix of both, it's no question that a party is made better by lots of entertainment! True, the DIY Ice Cream Sundae Bar grabs everyone's attention, but, to fully lean into the theme, it's fun to add in a few more items. For our party, Meg and Todd of This Mess Is Ours had the brilliant idea of making these temporary tattoos that were a total hit. Here's how to print your own temporary ice cream tattoos.
Ice Cream Social Games
We also brought in a few games for everyone. Meg and Todd made a freeform "pin the cherry on the ice cream cone" (though you could use this printout in a pinch) and we had the most amazing ice cream cone piñata stuffed with all sorts of candy and confetti.
Ice Cream Social Decor
Speaking of DIYs, if you want to up the ante on your decor here are a few more ice cream-themed DIYs that would be amazing at the party.
Yes, every time we all get together for a Friends Who Fete celebration, we go all out on the decor but this time we used more storebought decor so we could focus on the friends and family. And, for storebought decor, you really don't need to add much. If you're not doing a pinata, you could add ice cream cone balloons but we just decorated with various sized honeycombs and tassels:
Ice Cream Social Candy
Look, there's no reason to be the hero and have every last elemnet be homemade. In fact, there are so many cute toppings and ice cream candies, that it's better to by if you ask us. Here are a few items we used to decorate the party and to top the ice cream sundaes:
FOR THE ADULTS
FOR THE KIDS
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Photos by Salt & Wind and This Mess Is Ours