Perfect St. Patrick's Day PartyBy Corinne Zachary
Perhaps you've just decided that a St. Patrick's Day gathering sounds like fun. Or maybe you'll be dressing in green for a friend's party. Either way, it's easy to bring some Top o' the Mornin' cheer to the get-together.
Here are some ideas for a spectacularly simple party, plus some suggestions from Linda Low, owner of Little Shop of Shamrocks, in Islip, New York, for under-$25 gifts that will surely bring a smile to your hostess's eyes–whether she's Irish or not!
Quick Pick-ups for Your Instant Party
Easy décor: Any party goods or drug store will have cute, inexpensive items. Besides green and Shamrock-decorated paper goods, you'll find toothpicks topped with shamrocks or Irish flags, glittery shamrock stickers, and all kinds of low-cost decorative items.
Take-out menu: What would St. Patrick's Day be without corned beef? But if you don't have time to cook it, keep it super-simple: Head to a good deli and buy some lean corned beef (1 lb. should feed 4 to 6 people) and a loaf or two of fresh rye bread. Then simply arrange the corned beef on a pretty platter, put the bread in a basket, spoon some mustard into a small serving bowl, and let guests make their own sandwiches.(OR if you perfer to make a traditional Irish dinner, click here for a complete menu with recipes)
The cabbage component of your non-traditional St. Patrick's Day menu? Store-bought cole slaw. And replace the traditional boiled potatoes with tasty potato salad.
For the purist: If you care to add a more authentic Irish touch to the festivities, consider adding some of the following, all of which easily can be found at gourmet shops and many supermarkets:
- An assortment of Irish cheeses such as aged Cahill Farm Cheddar, creamy Cashel Blue, and Dubliner cheese–a mild, nutty Cheddar-like cheese that goes well with apples and grapes (green, of course);
- A box of Irish cream crackers;
- An assortment of Irish beers, such as Smithwicks, Guinness, Harp, Beaumish, and Murphy's;
- Packaged Irish scones, or any type of widely available St. Patrick's Day cakes, cookies, and cupcakes–all predictably decked out in green icing swirls or sugar sprinkles;
And Irish coffee for all: There are dozens of "authentic" or "original" Irish coffee recipes around. Most call for about one ounce of Irish whiskey for each six ounces of hot strong coffee, mixed with 1 to 2 Tbs. of brown sugar, to taste. After the sugar dissolves, gently float fresh whipped cream on top, and sprinkle with shaved chocolate, cinnamon, or green sugar sprinkles, if desired.
You might also enjoy:
- Make ahead Irish dinner classics
- Wine tasting party basics
- Chocolate fondue party
- Tea and chocolate: Two tasting parties