Image from Guinness

17th March – St Patrick’s Day. All over Australia and indeed the world, Irish people and their friends will be celebrating the patron saint of Ireland. I’m taking a bit of a twist from the usual cocktail celebrations and focusing on the heavy, rich drink that is the essence of Ireland.

I did a St Patrick’s Day Board last year, so this year, I’m focusing more on a beautiful celebration!

Guinness is not the only alcoholic fare available. My favourites are cocktails featuring Guinness or green liqueurs such as green Crème de Menthe.

Dublin Dreams and Leprechaun’s Irish Coffee from Cocktail Times suggests Shamrock Shaker – Kahlua, milk and Amaretto, Irish Pride – green Crème de Menthe, Amaretto and lemon juice and Irish Eyes – Irish whiskey, green Crème de Menthe and cream

Cocktails For You offers up a Black Velvet – Guinness and Champagne or a Baby Guinness – Kahlua with Baileys floated on top.

Irish Stew from Martha Stewart, Fabrics from Joel Dewberry, invitation from Dizzy Wizzy Design, Cupcake from Martha Stewart, Bouquet photo by Mulberry Photography from Rachel and Mike’s wedding,  Guinness from Guinness, glassware from Brides, Keira Knightley photo from Atonement via ITN, candy buffet by Amy Atlas

Dress in green! For men, braces/suspenders holding up 3/4 pants with stripey socks and a little hat are a must. Don’t forget the bow tie! A brilliant green gown (a la Chloe Maxwell in the latest Bride to Be magazine) and if nothing else, head to your local party shop for glittery green hats, streamers and balloons.

For a more subtle approach, pile bunches of greenery and green flowers in mason jars and vases around the house. Cut shamrocks out of beautifully patterned green paper and scatter on tables. Hang green bunting and paper lanterns from the roof.

Food should definitely be eaten if only to ‘line your stomachs’! Characterised by its filling offerings, Irish cooking uses earthy ingredients to tempt you. Irish stew, soda bread, battered cod, corned beef, boxty potato cakes, colcannon (cabbage and potato), and Guinness stew  Perfect for cooler weather eating!

Finish off the evening with dessert if you can fit it in – Whiskey cake, Tipsy cake, Guinness cake, rice pudding, oatmeal cookies or apple desserts. For something a little lighter, try homemade ice cream with Irish cream or peppermint. Cupcakes with green icing and little shamrocks on top.  A candy buffet filled with green sweets in all shapes and sizes with brown paper bags for guests to load with goodies. And to send your guests home (preferably in a taxi!) an Irish coffee made with coffee, brown sugar, whiskey and cream. Spend the next week trying to lose the weight you have put on!