It’s almost that time of year again, when everyone is Irish. Trust me, no one loves St. Patrick’s Day more than this redhead who holds an Irish passport and even married a man named Patrick, but as the years got on, I started to look on the holiday with a bit of disdain. Let’s face it, the drunk fest of loud and obnoxious throngs of people who can’t hold their liquor isn’t appealing to the normal adult.

But this holiday can still be one of the best times of the year, and a great way to insert a little life in a long stretch of time that doesn’t offer much to celebrate. The key is to have a party at home.

The Drinks

Green Beer

You can have the classic green beer, and even better you can choose whatever brew you normally prefer. It’s the simplest thing in the world to make. Just add a couple of drops of green food coloring (usually two will take care of a whole pint) and watch your beer take on the holiday hue without tasting any different.

Green Wine

This may make your local sommelier cringe a little, but let’s face it, not everyone likes beer. If you prefer your drinks from the vine, try a nice Riesling. The wine already has the faintest of green hues, and one tiny drop of food coloring will bring it full leprechaun luscious.

Guinness

This dark, delicious brew will definitely not turn green for the big day, but it definitely holds its own as an Irish staple. Arthur Guinness signed a 9,000-year lease on a brewery in Dublin in 1759, and ever since his special dark beer has been the stuff of Irish legends. A little trivia: dark beers like this are known as “porters” because they first gained popularity among London’s street and river porters. Guinness was a pioneer in its choice to exclusively concentrate on brewing and perfecting this beer.

Irish whiskey

The final Irish classic. Whiskey drinkers will have their favorites, but for the non-whiskey drinkers this is a great drink to serve at the end of the night in the form of an Irish coffee: a mug  coffee, a teaspoon of brown sugar stirred in with one shot of a whiskey and top with whipped cream, and you’ll have the perfect St. Patrick’s Day nightcap.

The Food

            Irish soda bread

This bread that has become a St. Paddy’s Day favorite, is reported to have caught on in Ireland because of the need to make bread out of simple and cheap ingredients during  hard times. The truth is this bread is both tasty and super easy to make, so definitely put some out for guests to snack on during St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.

You’ll find one of my favorite recipes here, and more than 1,000 reviewers agree. This is a basic recipe, so you can dress it up on your own by adding raisins, cranberries, or maybe even a tiny leprechaun to treat it like a Mardi Gras king cake – whoever gets the piece with the leprechaun has to bake the bread next year!

            Shepard’s Pie

This classic is a family favorite, and a great thing to make for a crowd at St. Patrick’s Day because it will help them soak up all that green beer and whiskey. I like to take the traditional recipe which you can find a good one here, and instead of making it as directed, do it small serving size ramekins, then you have individual servings that allow people to eat this hardy Irish meal and still circulate.

Bailey’s Irish Cream

Yes, this is indeed a drink rather than a food, but if you only view it as that you are missing the delicious succulence that is Bailey’s. The drink itself is sweet enough to be a stand-alone dessert. However, there are a plethora of recipes to make not just cocktails, but cookies, cakes, crumbles and other things. The official Bailey’s website brings you an excellent section of recipes.

            Lucky Charms

Yes, not a food I serve my family, and not Irish, but a fun little twist on the evening since they have appropriated the leprechaun. Instead of little dishes of peanuts, or in addition to, you can fill little dishes of these around your party for guests to munch on and both kids and adults will love it.

The Playlist

            The Pogues

If you are not familiar with this band, you should be. They were a punk band from the 80s. Originally their name was “Pogue Mahone” which is a rough approximation of the Irish Gaelic póg mo thóin, meaning “kiss my arse”. They have a great selection of songs to get your Irish party going.

The Cranberries

Moving from the 80s to more of a 90s vibe, this girl band is a great representation of the Emerald Isle’s musical talent.

U2

I’m guessing I don’t have to introduce you to this band, but you should definitely include them on a St. Paddy’s Day playlist.

The Irish Rovers

I am mostly familiar with this band from the 60s era because of my parents, but it’s St. Patrick’s Day, you need some classics mixed in there.

About Laura Ellsworth

Laura has been writing and editing for more than 25 years, a fact which more than a source of pride, sends her running to the wrinkle cream aisle of CVS. She has worked for CNN, CNBC, Bloomberg, The Economist Intelligence Unit, and CBS radio. She has three children, and you will either find her thoroughly enjoying their company or yelling at them to clean up after themselves and turn off the lights.

View all posts by Laura Ellsworth

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