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please pass the blarney a st. patrick's day dinner party by Kelly Beachell Gasner | 1 2 3 4
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Despite my disgust with the whole green beer phenomenon, I am a big advocate of celebrating my Irishness with a frosty pint or a really good whiskey. The Irish make terrific non-green beer. There is, of course, the very traditional and very good Guinness stout, but this can be a little heavy and isn't as good in cans/bottles as it is from the tap. Try serving your guests something a little lighter, yet still very Irish; Harp and Murphy's all make a number of beers ranging from lager to stouts and are sure to have something to please every taste. Don't forget Killian's Irish Red.

Whiskey isn't something most people want to drink straight, so I'd suggest offering an Irish-themed cocktail or two to get the blarney flowing. Buy a good-quality bottle of Irish whiskey and mix a batch of Irish Rose (you can make it a Wild Irish Rose by doubling up the lemon juice and topping with soda water). You can also tone it down a little by serving Irish coffee after dinner: dissolve a cube of sugar in about an ounce of whiskey in a coffee cup. Pour hot coffee over the mix, stir, and serve topped with whipped cream. Yum!

Irish Rose
1 ounces Irish whiskey
ounce lemon juice
2 tsp. grenadine

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice, shake well, and strain into a glass.

Wild Irish Rose
1 ounces Irish whiskey
2 tsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. grenadine
soda water for topping

Combine first three ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice, shake well, and strain into a glass half filled with ice. Top up with soda water. Garnish with an orange slice. 

No matter your beverage, make sure to bring the Irish spirit to the celebration with lots of creative toasts -- to each other, to the government, to the downfall of the government, to your grandma's apple pie, whatever. Your toasts should be long-winded, articulate, creative, and fun. If you've kissed the Blarney Stone you will be filled with the gift of eloquence.

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