Tips for a Sophisticated St. Patrick’s Day|
St. Patrick’s Day is one of my least favorite holidays. The term “amateur hour” is the first to come to mind when I think of March 17, and I dread the day as soon as I see the decorations go up in bars around town. It is one of the few holidays to seemingly encourage the kind of binge drinking and debauchery that can often border on dangerous.
While this might be fun when you are in college, it can get old quickly. As a mature, professional adult, there are plenty of fun alternatives to dressing up like a “sexy leprechaun,” drinking green beer, and doing more shots than you can count on one hand. Here are some sophisticated ideas for celebrating St. Patrick’s Day by avoiding the drunken masses and entertaining at home.
Host an Irish whiskey tasting for your friends.
Ireland is known for its many whiskies, but your friends are probably only able to name a few off the tops of their heads. Go to your local quality liquor store and buy 4 to 6 bottles of Irish whiskey you have never heard of. I suggest affordable brands such as Redbreast, Michael Collins, Powers, Concannon, Tullamore Dew, and Bushmills. Invite a group of pals and have them all throw in some money. Set out small tasting glasses or wine glasses for your guests and let them sample each of the different whiskies. Make sure to have water and some snacks such as bread, cured meats, cheese, and pickles available to soak up some of the liquor. You can read my tips for tasting whiskey here.
Cook classic Irish dishes.
While Ireland might not be known for its cuisine, there are some excellent dishes that hail from the Emerald Isle. The traditional Irish breakfast consisting of fried eggs, sausage, roasted tomatoes, sautéed mushrooms, and toast is an excellent start to your day and is relatively easy to make at home. You can also try more advanced dishes like corned beef and cabbage, shepherd’s pie, and Irish soda bread. One of my favorite sites, Epicurious, has a whole section dedicated to recipes for St. Patrick’s Day.
Curate an Irish beer and cheese tasting.
While Ireland might be famous for their whiskies and corned beef and cabbage, they also make excellent beer and cheese. Wine is not the only drink that pairs well with cheese, so head to your local gourmet market or cheese monger and have them help you select a variety of Irish cheeses (you should find everything from aged cheddar to blue cheese to beer or whiskey infused cheeses) that pair well with beer. Then stop in at a quality beer store and pick up an assortment of Irish beers like Smithwick’s Irish Ale, Murphy’s Irish Red, Harp Lager, Porterhouse Wrasslers Stout, Guinness and Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale. Do a tasting of your own before you guests arrive to see which pairings you like best and then set platters of cheese out with small glasses of beer for your guests to sample side-by-side.
Throw a St. Patrick’s Day cocktail party.
Your friends will probably be relieved not to have to brave the crowds to get a drink on St. Patty’s Day. Invite them over for a classy, intimate get-together. You can serve the whiskies, beers, and snacks mentioned above as well as a few simple classic cocktails such as an Irish Buck, Wild Eyed Rose, or Irish Maid (recipes below). Toast to the fact that you will not get sick from green beer this St. Patrick’s Day. Slainte!
1 ½ oz Irish Whiskey
¼ oz fresh lime juice
2 oz ginger ale
Add whiskey and lime juice to a highball glass filled with ice and top with ginger ale. Garnish with a lime wheel, if desired.
Wild Eyed Rose
2 oz Irish Whiskey
¾ oz fresh lime juice
¾ oz grenadine (I suggest the EO Brand)
Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and strain into a rocks glass over ice or into a martini glass.
This recipe was created by Sammy Ross of New York’s Milk & Honey and Attaboy
2 oz Irish Whiskey
1 oz fresh lime juice
¾ oz simple syrup (equal parts sugar and warm water, dissolved and brought to room temperature)
5 thin cucumber slices
5 mint leaves
Combine cucumber slices and mint sprigs with lime juice and simple syrup in the bottom of a cocktail shaker and muddle (smash gently) with the back of a wooden spoon. Add whiskey and shake vigorously. Strain into a rocks glass over ice and garnish with a mint sprig and cucumber slice.
How do you plan to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? Tell us in the comments!