While family ice cream socials are great fun, grown-up ice cream socials put a unique twist on a cocktail party. Planning and execution are a bit more challenging, but the payoff of seeing friends and family simultaneously indulge in ice cream and “adult” beverages is well worth the effort.
Ice cream selections
Liqueur and liquor-based toppings as well as ice cream-based drinks turn out best with fairly basic ice cream flavors. Vanilla, chocolate, coffee, chocolate chip and mint chocolate chip are all the ice cream flavors you need for a grown-up ice cream social. Ice cream laden with additives like candy chunks, nuts and cookies overcome the toppings and ruin the smooth texture of blended drinks. Set out bowls of crunchy toppings for guests to use as drink garnishes.
Liqueurs and liquors
Rich, full-flavored liqueurs are perfect pairings for ice cream. In addition to conventional coffee, butterscotch, mint, orange and chocolate flavored liqueurs, serve fruit-infused types such as melon, strawberry, lemon, licorice and peach. Many full-bodied types of liquor are delicious drizzled over ice cream. Set out bottles of blended whiskeys, single malt scotch, flavored vodka and rum, and high-end tequila for guests to experiment with. Get the ball rolling by serving a rum and Coke fan a kicked-up version by transforming it into a float with a scoop of ice cream.
Most drinks with cream or milk bases are twice as good when made with ice cream in a blender. Mudslides, chocolate martinis, pina coladas, chi chis and fruit margaritas are all elevated to gourmet status when you add a scoop of ice cream to the blender. For lighter fare, make a simple shake with vanilla ice cream and a tablespoon or so of liqueur for flavor and kick.
Champagne and beer
Provide a lot of champagne and beer at your social, as both go well with ice cream. Champagne poured over ice cream transforms it into a bubbly delight. Light beers such as pilsners are good to sip while eating plain ice cream, and dark beers and ales poured over coffee or chocolate ice cream create a memorable beer float. Try Mexican beer and tequila poured over ice cream and topped with a drizzle of lemon or lime liqueur.
Party room set-up
Borrow some blenders or smoothie makers from friends so you have enough to make several different frozen drinks at the same time. Have plenty of ice on hand for the blended drinks. Provide beer steins, tumblers and several types of stemmed glasses for serving different types of drinks. Set out bowls of salty snacks such as nuts, chips and pretzels to complement the sweet taste of the cocktails.
You can host an adult ice cream social any time of year, so don’t limit your party planning to the summer. Research ideas online for adult ice cream social recipes and snacks. Visit a liquor outlet with vast selections of unusual liquors and liqueurs for inspiration and new ideas. The more daring the selection, the more memorable your social will be.