The other day I received this question from SCS reader Jill:
I'm hosting my very first party this weekend...a cocktail party for St. Patrick's Day. It's a BYOB and we're providing the appetizers and mixers. We're trying to include the theme without being cheesy. My roommate and I don't have a huge budget or apartment, but want to create a memorable and festive event!
Happy to help, Jill!
Traditional St Patrick's Day fare is based on peasant food - meals that were made quickly and cheaply. At its heart, peasant food is simple and comforting, but you can dress it up a bit. Let these ideas get you started on a St Pat's party that puts a modern spin on its rustic roots!
Top left: Irish Potato Cakes. Time saver: buy pre-made mashed potatoes. Although I'm fundamentally opposed to them, buying pre-made will save you a ton of time. Just be aware they are more expensive than making your own mashed potatoes.
Top right: Cucumber with Smoked Salmon and Curry Crème Fraiche. This is not so much peasant food as it is a twist on what's popular now in Ireland. The cucumber is refreshing opposite the curry sauce, plus it adds a little green to your spread.
Middle left: Spiked shamrock shake. Serve it in small cups as a delicious dessert. So much better than what a certain fast food chain has to offer.
Middle right: Corned Beef and Cabbage Pizza. Call it a flatbread...when some people hear "pizza" their taste buds automatically calibrate to the cheese/sauce/pepperoni setting. Manage expectations with a little change in terminology. :)
Bottom left: Guinness Cupcake with Baileys Frosting. Doesn't that sound dreamy? If you need to take a shortcut, omit the frosting.
Bottom right: Keep your decor chic with green floral arrangements, like this one from Apartment Therapy. You can also use tight, dense bunches of baby's breath, or even trays of wheatgrass. Add green fabric (from the fabric store) for table runners and such. Another tip: sprinkle gold chocolate coins throughout your party space, giving a little wink to the leprechaun legend without needing to put out decorations like this.
For those who don't have friends as generous as Jill's, here's a list of St Pat's cocktail ideas.