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How to Throw a St. Patrick’s Day Party

The best corned beef and cabbage ever, plus sides and planning tips, from a party master

Elaine Johnson

You could say my husband, Patrick McEvoy, knows his corned beef and cabbage. For decades he’s been cooking up his specialty every March 17 for 100 friends or more. Maybe it’s his Irish-American heritage that makes the dish come out perfectly spiced and succulent every time, or maybe it’s the Guinness that goes in the pots. Whatever the reason, our annual party rocks, and this dish is the star.

Not everyone wants to cook for 100, of course, so I’ve scaled Patrick’s recipe to serve a mere dozen. However many you host, be sure to queue the Irish music and ice down the beer for Half-and-Halfs (equal parts Guinness stout and Harp lager). Sláinte!

The Menu

Patrick’s Corned Beef and Cabbage

Colcannon

Irish Soda Bread

Sheet Pan Scottish Shortbread

St. Patrick’s Day Party Timeline

After years of hosting, our party runs like clockwork, thanks to Patrick’s careful planning and a few friends who help with chopping, set-up, and serving.

2 weeks ahead

• Invite guests.

• Line up a big cooking pot and a few helpers for the party day.

1 week ahead

• Bake shortbread and freeze.

• Ask friends to bring appetizers.

• Borrow extra tables, chairs, and coolers, if needed.

2 to 3 days ahead

• Buy groceries and beer (Guinness stout and Harp lager).

Iain Bagwell

On Party Day

Morning

• Bake soda bread.

• Make colcannon.

• Thaw shortbread.

Noon

• Start corned beef.

Mid-afternoon

• Buy ice and chill beer.

• Arrange tables and seating.

• Slice soda bread and cover.

• Prep vegetables for corned beef.

5 PM

• Queue the Irish music.

• Set out appetizers.

• Pour Half-and-Halfs (equal parts Guinness and Harp).

• Add vegetables to corned beef.

5:30 or 6 PM

• Reheat colcannon.

• Slice corned beef and dish up vegetables.

• Take a bow!