As the saying goes – I scream, you scream, we ALL scream for ice cream” – and that includes the grown-ups!
And being one of these ice-cream-loving-grown-ups myself, I was super excited when California Milk Advisory Board asked me to design a Cocktail Infused Milkshake Bar for them, in celebration of National Ice Cream Month (July). That’s right, folks… this table is filled with everything you need to make those tasty milkshakes that we all know and love, but served up with an adult-friendly kick!
Retro Palm Springs Chic + Kitschy Fun
I really had some fun with the styling on this theme and hope it makes you happy too… flamingos – check, kitschy cow figurines – check, rainbow sprinkles – check, boozy milkshakes – CHECK! There are lots of FREE Ice Cream Printables for you do download here as well. Speaking of which, I just couldn’t resist channeling a little Kelis for the occasion… ;)
Download this milkshake sign + lots more fun designs below!
How to Set Up a Cocktail Milkshake Bar
When it comes to a make-it-yourself station of any kind at a party, it’s important to keep the elements organized and functional for your guests. I started by dividing the table into 3 clear-cut sections: SCOOP (the ice cream made from Real California Milk), SPIKE (the mixers), and SHAKE (the blender). Giant ice cream cone balloons served as fun signs!
I made these balloons from punch balloons + printable ice cream cones. The cones are attached to the balloon with 3D glue dots, and since punch balloons come fitted with a rubber band at the top, they are naturally quite convenient for hanging.
The SCOOP section of the table featured ice cream made from Real California Milkin chocolate and vanilla flavors. (Look for dairy that bears the Real California Milk seal.) It’s best to keep things simple with just 2-3 versatile ice cream flavors, since the mixers and toppings will naturally create lots of different drink options for your guests.
I used clear acrylic containers to serve the ice cream and placed the containers in an ice-filled beverage tub to keep them cold. You do want the ice cream to be a little bit soft when served though, so that it’s easier for guests to scoop and mix.
A Boozy Milkshakes Menu sat near the ice cream too, with a few suggested recipes for guests to try out when they’re looking for inspiration. Recipe suggestions included 2 vanilla-based options: Funfetti and Peachy Keen, plus 3 chocolate based options: Mexican Chilled Chocolate (as a playful twist on Mexican Hot Chocolate), Gimme S’more, and Sassy Chocolate.
The SPIKE section of the table featured 5 different types of alcohol + milk, peach nectar, marshmallow fluff, and the necessary spices for the suggested recipes (cinnamon and cayenne pepper).
Liquor was served in pretty glass bottles (purchased at HomeGoods), along with custom labels so guests can easily tell what’s what. A few additional liquor options are included in the printable Liquor Labels sheet, too, in case you want to mix things up a bit on your own station!
I hot glued yo-yo halves to the glass carafes and tiny flamingos to the spice bottles because… why not?! ;)
The BLEND section of the table featured a retro-looking drink mixer, milkshake spoons, and cups. You can of course use whatever blender you already have on hand – but this one was very affordable and fit into the retro vibe quite nicely! If your party is on the larger side, it’s a great idea to have blenders/mixers set up in more than one area + extra steel cups on hand.
Last but not least, we can’t forget about the TOPPINGS! Serve fun garnishes like crushed sandwich cookies, mini marshmallows, rainbow sprinkles, and mini chocolate chips, and use wide mouth mason jars as stylish (& inexpensive) serving bowls.
Since this station features hints of both silver and gold, I spray painted half of the (removable) mason jar rims gold, and hot glued flamingos and tiny cows to the front to make them more playful & on theme. Your guests will appreciate outside-the-box details like this! And on that note, don’t forget to download the printable Topping Station sign too.
I couldn’t fit the toppings on the main table, so they were set up on bar cart next to the table instead. Tissue honeycomb decorations were piled up on the bottom of the bar cart to add a nice pop of color:
Speaking of a pop of color – see the yellow “poles” on either side of the main table? Those are actually pool noodles! I wanted to use my simple photo backdrop kit to hang the ice cream balloons, but the side poles aren’t exactly lovely to look at, so I made one giant slice along each pool noodle and wrapped them around the poles. It was surprisingly easy! Definitely going to use this trick again. ;)
Hope you can have some fun setting up a milkshake bar of your own! If you need to give yourself an excuse, just remember that July is National Ice Cream Month. ;) Make sure to look for the Real California Milk seal when shopping for your ice cream. Here’s what it looks like:
If you have any questions about this milkshake bar, please feel free to ask them in the comments section, and don’t forget to download the free printables below. CHEERS!
FREE MILKSHAKE BAR PRINTABLES by HWTM:
– Styling, Photography and Graphic Design: Hostess with the Mostess
– Sponsor: California Milk Advisory Board
This post is sponsored by California Milk Advisory Board. California dairy farms produce 20% of the entire nation’s dairy supply, and 99% of them are family-owned! Learn more about them here. Thank you for supporting the companies that make it possible for us to keep the creative content coming your way!