Ice Cream Made Social

Planning a lazy afternoon gathering with friends, or a Friday night mix and mingle? Well then, it’s time to bring back the Ice Cream Social. Here are a few party-planning tips to get the party started.

Afternoon Get-together

If a relaxed patio or backyard outing is in store, the ice cream service should be casual and self-serve.

Purchase large vats of several ice cream flavors and cones (traditional, waffle or dipped). For staging and guest participation, set the containers out with old-fashioned metal scoopers and an ice cream flavor marker poked into each vat. Put stacked cones in a variety of containers like galvanized buckets. Provide an assorted tray of cookies, so guests can top off their scoop of ice cream. Add florals and outdoor décor. To quench the thirst, infused water and ice tea served in pitchers or in a spouted decanter, is a satisfying summertime complement. Try adding a few ingredients like lemon and cucumber slices, ginger root and mint leaves, or a variety of fruit. Your party is sure to be a sweet success!

Evening Mixer

Want an excuse to mix and mingle?

Set the date, get out an evite and start planning. This ice cream social can be a bit swankier. For starters, a framed chalkboard or menu board sets the stage to welcome guests. Lists toppings, garnishes, drink selections and any slated games. Add candelabras, florals and chic décor to the serving table. To keep things less messy given the theme, pre-scoop a few basic flavors like vanilla bean and chocolate into martini glasses, or disposable plastic or paper containers. Put in freezer until guests arrive. Before serving, press in a Belgian cookie (look for an assortment of European cookies packaged in box or tin) and add a mint leaf.

Now for the kicker… fill decorative decanters with a variety of liqueurs like Kahlua, Godiva chocolate or an Italian lemon liqueur. If you want to add bling, make a jewelry tag that drapes over the decanter neck. Purchase chain by the yard and a package of dog tags, sourced at your craft store. Loop a 6-inch piece of chain together and attach a tag. Write the liqueur name on the tag with paint markers. In gravy bowls, tea cups, jam servers or other interesting containers, add a selection of fruits, nuts and other offerings. Don’t forget to set out spoons, preferably the family heirlooms or shabby-chic variety. Set up a self-serve bar, and they will come.

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