Theme Parties for Grown-Ups #1: Whiskey & Waffles

Who needs Super Bowl snacks when you’ve got hard liquor and maple syrup?

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When I was growing up, one of the best things about knowing my birthday was coming was being able to envision the massive theme party I would have. Because my mother is a saint with boundless patience, I truly believed no concept was too grand (three ring circus/pool party/disco! Disney princess/ Star Wars/Antarctic treasure hunt!) to be executed in our living room and/or backyard.

I’ve spoken to several friends about my nostalgia, and it seems I am not the only one lamenting the foregone days of fêtes devoted to plaster paint. While some have argued that the theme parties continue well into college, I am of the opinion that college soirées lack the whimsy and true spirit embodied in a Spice Girls/Backstreet Boys/triceratops-inspired slumber party.

So. Where is this going, you ask? What I am playing at is this: J and I have decided to bring the theme parties back, and not just on your birthday!! Each week, we will suggest a concept for a gathering that is guaranteed to beget merriment amongst you and your adult comrades. We’ll proffer suggestions on food, drinks, decor, and general tone, leaving you free to do all the actual work of organizing the event and shelling out your hard-earned cash.

First up is a concept we executed to great success in September, 2013. Read on to learn more, and listen to me when I say that your gathering will be defined by the strength of your toppings bar.

Theme: Whiskey & Waffles


Text some random photos of breakfast foods and alcohol to everyone with a first and last name on your iPhone. Those who are worthy will come.


Advise guests to wear clothes they’re not afraid to get sticky. If you want to be basic, wear plaid.


Whiskey and waffles, duh! Don’t skimp and get Eggos—you’re an adult, after all. You can afford the gourmet squares that cost twice the price and come with only two waffles per cardboard package. If you really want to elevate things, get a waffle-maker.

It goes without saying that you should buy quality whiskey, so the thing I’m going to emphasize here is toppings for the waffles. The absolute essentials are sugar, butter, honey, peanut butter, cinnamon, nutella, and (of course) 100% real maple syrup. It would be courteous to offer strawberries, bananas, chocolate sauce, and a wide range of nuts, and your guests will surely be excited if you include jam. Because there will be human beings at this party, you should also include sriracha.

There are, of course, infinite variations on the toppings theme. You can go seasonal (strawberries/blueberries/whipped cream for July!), regional (French waffles! Hawaiian!), or even postmodern (a deconstructed array of highly inedible sprinkles). What’s important is that you use your imagination and let your instincts guide you. If you truly listen to your soul when selecting toppings, you will be impervious to insults from those frustrated guests who were hoping for a gluten-free section.


None. The inevitable aroma of maple syrup paired with woodsy phenols will be enough of a sensory statement.

xox E

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