St. Patrick's Day is a great time for everyone to let loose and be "a little Irish." Throwing a St. Patrick's Day party for friends and family is the perfect way to share in the spirit of the day. With just a few special elements, you can easily plan a memorable Irish bash.
- Decoration- When throwing a party with a clear theme, such as St. Patrick's Day, decoration is key. Green should dominate for this celebration, in every shade. Most florists, or even grocery stores, will carry green carnations around this time, which make for a nice table arrangement or centerpiece. Be sure to hide leprechauns and shamrocks in your décor as well. You can purchase these, or make them yourself fairly easily using green construction paper. If kids will be present at your celebration, find black leprechaun hats for them to wear or green party hats. They'll be excited with the special attire, and give you real live "leprechauns" to add to the atmosphere.
- Food- As with any party, food is key. Even if you are not familiar with Irish fare, there are a few simple dishes you can prepare that will keep with the theme of your party.
- Irish cheese- This can be found easily at your supermarket, and served with a nice crusty bread as an appetizer. Dubliner cheese is especially easy to find, and has a very unique texture and flavor that your guests will be sure to enjoy.
- Soda Bread- This is a very traditional Irish staple that is easy to prepare: Recipes can be found online to prepare this bread yourself. Because this bread uses baking soda rather than yeast as a leavening agent, you can make it rather quickly and serve it warm either before or with your main meal. Many people add raisins or nuts to the bread to make it more of a dessert treat.
- Corned beef, cabbage and potatoes- These items will make up the core of your St. Patrick's Day feast, and couldn't be easier to prepare. Just be aware that for a tender and flavorful corned beef, you will need to boil it almost all day, depending on the size of the beef. Most packaged corned beef includes a seasoning packet that you just throw in the water to make a tasty broth. Once the beef has about an hour left to boil, throw in a cabbage (quartered), halved red potatoes, and chunks of carrots and onions if you like. When all the veggies are tender but still firm, remove them, and the beef from the broth to a nice serving platter. Transfer the broth to a gravy boat. Be sure to have a good, strong mustard available as well, as it is a traditional condiment for corned beef.
- Drinks- St. Patrick's Day celebrations are best known for their free flow of alcohol. Dark Irish beers, such as Guinness, should be available for your party guests. Whiskey is also a traditional Irish liquor that can be served. Bailey's is another alcoholic beverage that can be used, as well as whiskey, to "Irish up" after-dinner coffee. Bear in mind however, that if you're having a family-style party, you may want to avoid hard liquor. For children and adults who don't drink alcohol, there is also a plethora of options. Green grenadine added to clear soda makes for a fun St. Patrick's Day beverage. Green fruit punch and Kool-Aid are other options.
- Music- Find a CD of traditional Irish gigs or Celtic music to play as background music for your festivities. Background music is a big element in setting the tone of any event.
As with any party featuring alcohol, make sure you've arranged a safe way for everyone to get home. After all, the most important part of any party is having a great time, and that includes getting home safely at the end.