Tutti Frutti

How to Throw a Big Gay Ice Cream Social

During the last weekend of summer, throw an imaginative (and boozy) ice-cream social with tips from the founders of the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop.

Foodcollection RF

Foodcollection RF

Labor Day weekend signals the demise of seersucker, endless beach getaways, and the one sweet treat that brings to mind the summer season more than any other: ice cream.

To celebrate the holiday, the founders of the East Village’s Big Gay Ice Cream Shop, Bryan Petroff and Douglas Quint, put together a how-to for throwing an ice-cream social. Their motto is "there's no food more fun than ice cream," so live it up accordingly.

Anna Williams / Getty Images


Hit the gourmet soda aisle for some unique and refreshing floats: Sprecher’s root beer, IZZE lime, P&H Soda Co. hibiscus soda syrup, Maine Root blueberry, old-school Grape Crush or a super-spicy ginger beer are all fantastic options. Crazy Straws optional.

Courtsy of Bertha Mason

Drag Queens

No party is complete without a fabulous host. One of our favorite spirit mothers is Bertha Mason. She works our shop's door on the weekends and bakes a wicked pie. 

Jeffery Cross / Courtesy of Heath Ceramics

Heath Bowls

Who says you can’t bring out your finest for ice cream? And we think the finest is California-based Heath Ceramics. They may not be cheap, but they're elegant, classic, and will last forever.

Inflatable Unicorns

Buy lots and lots of these and turn your back yard into an enchanted forest. Be prepared for everyone to take at least one home with them.

Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

Make a Music Playlist

Throw together a Motown meets Wall of Sound meets Punk playlist: the Ramones, the Ronettes, Blondie, Ike & Tina Turner, the Beach Boys, Shirley Ellis, the B-52s. Or check out some of the fun mix CDs compiled by director John Waters or one of our favorite current bands: the über-fab Hunx and His Punx. All available on iTunes, as is our own Big Gay Ice Cream Song by the Go-Gos’ Jane Wiedlin.

Courtesy of Reyn Spooner

Aloha Shirts

Have everyone don some amazing vintage fabric, printed Reyn Spooner Hawaiian shirts.

Boozy Shakes

Add rum and fresh strawberries or Maker’s Mark bourbon and maple syrup to spike up vanilla shakes. 

Chris Fallows / Discovery Communications

Shark Week Theme

Create shark-inspired sundaes, including blue-dyed vanilla ice cream and white-chocolate shark teeth. (Thanks to our friend and former Cupcake Wars contestant Ricky Webster, whose birthday party was the inspiration for this one.) Kiddie pools optional.

Courtesy of Maldon

Sea Salt

Trust us on this one. Salt kicks up almost any ice-cream flavor. Throw some Maldon Sea Salt on vanilla along with a drizzle of high-quality olive oil and a dollop of fig sauce. Or use Maldon Smoked Sea Salt over chocolate.

Rodger Macuch

Homemade Coca-Cola Slushies

We made these as kids all the time. Freeze some Coca-Cola in plastic tumblers and scrape with a spoon to eat. If you happen to add a rum floater, who are we to judge?