St. Patrick’s Day: Know Your Partiesposted on 2/28/14
Sick of parades? Me too, ladies and gents. St. Patrick’s Day can be a blast, but often times the public celebrations can be a little overwhelming–seas of pedestrians, public drunkenness, and traditional Irish music so loud you can’t think. Don’t get me wrong, I like fiddles as much as the next person, but enough is enough. For all of you out there who feel the same way, I’m here to tell you that there’s another way. Why not have your own shindig at home, away from the din and delirium of the city crowd? Here are a few sure-fire tips to bring the luck o’ the Irish to your St. Patrick’s Day party.
Step 1: The Decor
This one’s pretty straight-forward–just go green. Green balloons, string lights, shamrock cut-outs, you name it: by the time St. Patrick’s Day rolls around, all of this stuff will be laughably easy to find at most local stores. If you really want to step your game up a notch, you can take a trip down to Home Depot or any other home interiors store and pick up some green light bulbs for your standing lamps. Don’t go overboard with this, though–a party bathed entirely in an ominous green glow is likely to feel more like a creepy sci-fi B-movie than a warm and inviting party atmosphere.
Step 2: The Food
It’s no secret that every good party needs food–a snack table is an ideal place for people to congregate and mingle, and if a conversation starts to falter, you always cram your noise hole full of delicious treats to fill the silence. For a St. Patrick’s Day party spread, there are basically two schools of thought: first, you can try your hand at making a whole host of traditional Irish dishes; second, you can be thoroughly American and opt to serve time-tested party favorites dyed green. The choice is yours, but keep in mind when you’re making your decision what type of food your guests are more likely to appreciate. Will they be impressed by your culinary prowess and commitment to authenticity, or are they more apt to be relieved to see familiar foods? Whatever you choose, we’ve got you covered.
Going Native: Traditional Irish Foods
–Corned Beef & Cabbage is a must if you’re getting traditional, and it has the added benefit of not having any really outlandish ingredients. Be careful, though: you might need to make a lot for a party of moderate size, and that could be time consuming.
–Irish Soda Bread is another Irish classic, and it only takes about an hour to make. Pairs well with butter or a spread of your choice!
–Shepherd’s Pie is as Irish as they come. Plus, who doesn’t like meat and potatoes?
Playing it Safe: Green Foods
-Green Jello is an easy and festive hors d’oeuvre for a St. Patrick’s Day party, and it comes pre-dyed!
-Sugar Cookies with green icing are another safe bet. Around the holidays, you’re sure to even find them in a variety of fun St. Patrick’s Day shapes.
-Angel’s Food Cake can easily be dyed a festive green with the simple addition of a little food coloring to the batter.
Step 3: The Drinks
Obviously, any St. Patrick’s Day party is likely to include the consumption of alcohol as one of its main objectives. But what kinds of drinks should you have, how much is enough, and is there such a thing as too much? To answer these questions, you’ll have to think about the goals of your party–and how much you’re willing to clean up after your friends. Here are a few options you can consider.
The BYOB Option
If you’re open to your guests getting rip-roaring drunk but don’t necessarily want to foot the whole bill, one option is to provide a reasonable amount of alcohol, but let your guests know that they’re also welcome to bring their own supply along with them. That way the casual drinkers can show up unencumbered and the hardcore partiers don’t have to worry about taking more than their fair share.
A Sober Alternative
Even on St. Patrick’s Day, some people just aren’t all that into drinking. Make sure that there are ample non-alcoholic options to ensure that you don’t alienate any of your guests. You can even provide festive green Solo cups to add a little weight to the theme while simultaneously making it a little easier for sober partygoers to blend in.
Green beer is a St. Patrick’s Day staple, and it’s easy to make… sort of. It only takes a few drops of green food coloring in a to turn a light pilsner emerald green, but darker beers (like Guinness or Killian’s Irish Red, two Irish staples I’d recommend for your party) won’t dye as easily. Also take into consideration that, for a party in your home, you’re a lot more likely to be providing cans or bottles of beer, rather than a keg. One option is to buy a stock of light-colored beer and set it up in a cooler next to a stack of cups and a few bottles of food-coloring with a quick “Make Your Own Green Beer” sign and the following instructions: simply put a few drops of green dye in the bottom of your cup before pouring your beer in, swirl it a little, and you’re good to go! This will save you a lot of hassle, and it’s so easy that your guests will be able to do it while drunk.
Step 4: The Music
Traditional Irish folk classics are all well and good, but they’re not for everyone. When putting together a St. Patrick’s Day playlist, make sure that you mix in enough music that people will recognize and can dance to. Here’s a list of catchy, mainstream musicians with a healthy dose of Irish pride:
-House of Pain
-The Saw Doctors
…And there you have it! By following these easy guidelines, you’re sure to throw a St. Patrick’s Day bash that’ll leave your guests with no regrets about skipping the parade this year. Have fun and be safe!