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With pubs still closed in many states, massive parties frowned upon, travel to Ireland advised against, and parades canceled (including the world’s largest march down Fifth Avenue in New York City), the pandemic has cast a pall on St. Patrick’s Day for the second year in a row.
But just because it is not going to be easy being green on March 17 doesn’t mean it will be impossible to toast the life of devout snake whisperer St. Patrick, Irish heritage, and Emerald Isle culture. Last year, we were caught off guard, but now we have a year of pivots, virtual holidays, and partying responsibly behind us so you won’t even need the luck of the Irish to put together a fecking good at-home fete.
This guide has got everything you need from where to stock up on Jameson and Guinness, to themed meal delivery, and what to wear to avoid getting pinched.
Step 1: Stock The Liquor Cabinet
Some holidays are about gifts; others gratitude. Some pay tribute or celebrate a particular faith. St. Patrick’s Day, like Drinko de Mayo, is, if we’re all truly being honest, now mostly about getting turnt with tipple. If you need further proof, consider this stat from USA Today: Americans typically guzzle 600,000 pints of Dublin-brewed Guinness a day, but that number jumps to three million on March 17. But in many states, bars are still shuttered or operating with reduced capacities, and lots of people don’t yet feel comfortable bellying up to a bar (Dr. Fauci tends to agree with them.) Luckily, we are living in the golden age of alcohol delivery and spirits subscriptions.
Members-only spirits club Flaviar knows it sucks to sláinte alone. So they’re throwing a public party on Instagram and Facebook on March 17, with a concert, pub quiz, and giveaways. Flaviar is also running a special annual membership drive leading up to the holiday that adds an extra full-sized bottle of Bushmills Irish whiskey to the pot-o-liquid-gold that already contains a quarterly tasting box, access to rare spirits and free shipping, and private events like blendings, screenings, and webinars with experts. One such members-only meet-up—a guided virtual tasting of the Irishmen Tasting Box—is happening March 16, giving the uninitiated another reason to enroll.
Jameson, The Whistler, Hell-Cat Maggie, The Busker, Redbreast, Michael Collins, The Dead Rabbit, The Fighting 69th, Jack Ryan, Paddy, Midleton Barry Crockett, and The Irishman— it sounds like the world’s most interesting guest list, but it’s actually just a few of the 217-bottle deep inventory of made-in-Ireland whiskey carried and delivered by Drizly to thirsty customers in 1,400 cities across the U.S. and Canada. By partnering with local retailers, North America’s largest online alcohol marketplace can get a bottle of Knappogue Castle 12 Year or an Irish Pub Pack—plus bitters, juice, ice, and more—to your house in under 60 minutes.
Halving the delivery time, Saucey drops beer, wine, and hard liquor on doorsteps in 22 cities including Los Angeles, Miami, Austin, San Francisco, Seattle, DC, and Chicago. They also stock mixers, bags of ice, cigarettes, candy, hangover recovery products, and single lemons and limes. Two-day and ground shipping can get five types of Guinness anywhere in California and New York but that clearly requires pre-gaming.
Right now, first time customers can get 50% off Guinness Draught Stout using code GUINNESSMARCH and 50% off Bailey’s Original Irish Cream using code BAILEYSMARCH.
Or simply add your list of libations to that week’s Instacart grocery order. The service sources alcohol from Costco, Publix, Wegmans, ALDI, BevMo!, and Total Wine & More in 24 states including Nebraska, Tennessee, New York, Oregon, and Arizona, and guarantees you will be swigging in two hours or less.
5. Uncommon Goods
Maybe you’re that guy who has taken up all kinds of new DIY hobbies during the pandemic and would like to give brewing your own craft suds a go. For you, there’s Uncommon Goods’ Irish stout beer brewing kit, which comes with everything you need to make one gallon or 10 12-ounce bottles of the dark toasty stuff including U.S.-grown ingredients (100% malt extract, specialty grains, hop pellets, and yeast) and reusable tools (glass fermentor, racking cane, thermometer, tube clamp, etc.). They also stock a bottling kit to make your kitchen chemistry project look like the real deal.
6. Man Crates
Of course, you’ll also need something to drink all of the high-end spirits you’ve scored from. The men at Man Crates have produced several sláinte-worthy sets with St. Patrick’s Day designs that can also be personalized. Planning to slide into some single grain or single malt? Order the Personalized Whiskey Crate, a collection of Tovolo ice sphere molds, sturdy-bottomed rocks glasses, slate coasters, mixed nuts, and a drinking journal, or the more deluxe Whiskey Appreciation Crate, which adds a monogrammed decanter and more snacks.
Pounding pints? Go with the Barware Crate that contains four personalized glasses, an etched bottle opener, letterpress coasters, and stuff to munch on. The glassware will level-up the man cave for years to come. The personalized insulated growler will come in handy next year when hopefully we can all go back to the more traditional pub crawl for Patrick.
7. Personalization Mall
Drink like a Celtic king with a satin-finished stainless steel 20-ounce tankard that can be custom etched with your name or the Game of Thrones house you most identified with.
This could also be a good opportunity to pull the trigger on that bar cart you’ve been coveting. Amazon has a vast selection, from Jubao’s metal-and-wood trolley and Glitzhome’s gold and glass oblong server that gives off Old Hollywood vibes to VIDAR’s option, which invites you to stash your spirits inside of a replica of a vintage 16th-century globe.
Step 2: Plan All-Day Provisions
Second only to the drinking, St. Pat’s is also about feasting on authentic Irish delicacies like corned beef and hearty stews, stuff made with Irish ingredients like Guinness-filled Bundt cakes, and anything you can dye green.
1. Gold Belly
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and you’ll need your strength to last late into the night so start with carbs from New York’s Baz Bagel. The Lower East Side shop’s famous rainbow bagels have gone green for March. Why not send a few to the cubicle mate you haven’t seen in a year or to your underlings for the morning meeting? Your mea culpa for scheduling a Zoom on a holiday, or worse the morning after, should include sides of lox and cream cheese.
When it comes to the main event, corned beef and cabbage is the reigning king of March 17. In your search for salt-cured scrumptiousness, Goldbelly should be your first stop as it aggregates dishes from restaurants and chefs from across America on one delivery central site, including the warm up-and-eat St. Patrick’s Day meal (corned beef, cabbage, boiled potatoes, a loaf of Irish soda bread, sour pickles, and mustard) from Lido Kosher Deli in Long Island.
On the other coast, Langer’s Deli, a Los Angeles institution, has got lunch covered with its sandwich kit. It includes rye bread, corned beef, and bonus pastrami. If you prefer to get your hands dirty, order prepped but uncooked grade-A brisket from Snake River Farms, an Idaho outfit that keeps the nation’s finest chefs flush with American wagyu and Berkshire hogs.
Don’t forget to close down this day of decadence with dessert. You can find themed treats of all types from boozy ice cream to boozy chocolates and boozy cakes, which all go great with an Irish coffee (ReserveBar has some great recipes) or a Baileys-spiked hot chocolate. (We warned you at the top what this holiday was all about.) There’s also sugar without spirits if you’re oversaturated by this point. James Beard Award and Top Chef winner Stephanie Izard’s newest Chicago concept is Sugargoat, a bakery that turns out many unique sweets including a cake inspired by Lucky Charms.
This Irish cream cheesecake is a godsend, literally, as it is baked by the Nuns of New Skete Monastery daily between prayers. This is what we like to call a tasty twofer: support the church St. Patrick served and sate a craving.
Virginia’s Red Truck Bakery whips up a chocolate ring cake infused with Guinness Stout and smothered in Baileys frosting.
Irish cuisine and pandemic trends collide at igourmet where you can secure the fixings for a wicked good cheese board. There are several a la carte picks and tasting sets as well as crackers, Irish butter, Folláin jam, and Filligans mustard. However you handle your dairy rations, make sure it includes an allotment of rich Cashel Blue. If you are looking for a festive cheese and aren’t concerned about its origins, grab some green pesto gouda.
Bust open a box of Pennsylvania-made cinnamon-coconut cream “potato” poppers that were made to honor the victims of Ireland’s great potato famine and are popular at the feast of St. Patrick parties on the East Coast.
3. Omaha Steaks
Omaha Steaks also puts platefuls on porches with the push of a button. Choose between hunks of beef, spiced and ready to cook low and slow, sides like brussels sprouts with bacon, root vegetable gratin, or fluffy smashed potatoes, or complete suppers like the Classic Corned Beef Dinner or the slow cooker meal, which both include mini baguettes and dessert. If you do enough damage, shipping is free and they’ll throw in some steak burgers.
You can still cram in the customary corned beef even if you’re a carnivore no more. Plant-based powerhouse—a Shark Tank alum and Mark Cuban favorite—Unreal Deli has created a thin-sliced plant-based version of the cold cuts that can be used in sammies or scrambles. High in protein and low in fat, the faux meat comes in one to 10-pound packages.
Get a dozen cupcakes in flavors like chocolate mint crunch, peanut butter chocolate chip, and salted caramel topped with symbolic fondant coins, rainbows, and shamrocks from sister-started chain Georgetown Cupcake.
Step 3: Don’t Forget To Wear Green
1. Old Navy
If you do, there will be consequences. The lore states that green makes you invisible to naughty leprechauns with a penchant for pinching. (Fun fact: Back in the day, blue was actually the color associated with the day’s namesake saint. Guess marketing got a hold of it.) Old Navy’s got inexpensive St Patrick’s-themed threads in the form of graphic tees, matching PJ sets, boxers, and socks.
2. Sea Bags
Made in Maine, Sea Bags repurposes old boat sails into nautical carryalls and home décor. Given New England is chock full of Irish Catholics St. Patrick’s Day is important to them and thus they’ve made an entire line embellished with kelly green and white shamrock prints. The bags come in a variety of sizes and styles from petite coin purses and wristlets to bucket bags and beach totes. There’s even a wine bag that can be repurposed to haul and hide skinny whiskey bottles.
The oldest trick in the playground book was to wear green where no one could see it so that if they dared come at you, you could flash the top of your underwear and retaliate times 10 for their mistaken pinch. And while the ulterior motives have likely changed for throwing some green under your jeans, it’s still fun to shamrock shake your tailfeather in special skivvies.
MeUndies’ Best Of Luck collection covers you from head to toe with a wide range of delicates and loungewear for men and women including thongs, bralettes, boxer briefs, pants, tanks, socks, and hooded onesies. They’ve also printed up other essentials in the same fabric including face masks, neck gaiters, and a dog hoodie.
Step 4: Turn Up The Tunes
Ireland is a land of storytellers and one of their favorite mediums is music. Create a lively atmosphere by spinning songs by Irish artists and bands like Enya, Van Morrison, The Dubliners, The Irish Rovers, U2, and The Chieftains or folk jams full of Celtic harp and fiddle. You’ll be a lord of the dance in no time.
March is also Women’s History Month and as it really isn’t St. Patrick’s Day without hearing “Danny Boy” on repeat, invest in a collection of Celtic lady balladeers with that audio gem on it to kill two birds with one Amazon order. Or keep the sea shanty revival from a couple of weeks ago going.
Step 5: Plant One On Someone Special
Treat yourself or someone you love with a green gift. Although shamrocks are the universally accepted and inviolable symbol of Ireland and S.P.D., they don’t technically, at least not as far as scientific nomenclature is concerned, exist. They’re more of a 17th-century mythical construct imbuing any three-leafed trefoil with national pride and a four-leafed clover with luck. Because you can’t call up a florist and request the shamrock special, try these options from 1-800-Flowers.com instead.