5 Ways to Entertain with Ease on St. Patrick’s Day

Photo by Chris GentilePhoto by Chris Gentileby Kelly Senyei, Gourmet Live

Farm-to-table fare and eco-friendly decor are all the rage, but right now we're going green-literally. Celebrate the luckiest holiday of the year with five tips for how to entertain with ease this St. Patrick's Day.

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• Bring the Outdoors In
If you aren't lucky enough to be experiencing spring in all its glory just yet, bring the party indoors while evoking the Irish countryside. Seasonal flowers that will make it look like you splurged-without actually having spent the big bucks-include daisies and Bells of Ireland (also known as Moluccella laevis), tall, lush plants with a bright green color and delicate white blooms. Bells of Ireland are usually used as inexpensive filler flowers, but they make elegant arrangements on their own without being too stuffy or rigid. A tray of wheatgrass also makes a fun base in which to store place cards or parting gifts.

• Sweet as Shandy
Harness your inner mixologist by stirring up a round of the beer-based cocktail known as a shandy. Mix part beer with part lemonade, ginger ale, or citrus-flavored soda, and garnish with a lime wedge or a peeled kiwi wheel. Or, stick to Rock Shandy, a simple carbonated mocktail that combines orange- and lemon-flavored sodas.

See also: 12 Decadent Chocolate Desserts

• Celtic Spirits
Keeping a few base liquors on hand allows for custom-made green cocktails. Opt for Irish whiskey, crème de menthe, Midori, sour apple schnapps, and green Chartreuse-the only liqueur in the world with a completely natural green color, created by the chlorophyll of 130 plants. Dress up your custom creations with a green crystal sugar rim and green garnishes like mint, Granny Smith apple slices, and cucumber wheels.

• Bottles Up
Green glass bottles of varying proportions are the perfect eye-catching and eco-friendly touch for any size table. They're also twice as functional when used as vases for your seasonal floral selections, or as centerpieces filled with gold-wrapped chocolate coins and arranged alongside unscented candles. Green glass accents go from day to night, as they cast a soft green glow from sunlight or candlelight.

• Go for the (Pot o') Gold

Steer clear of paper and plastic plates for the day. Not only will you really be going green, but you'll also be adding a more elegant touch to your spread. You can still keep it casual by mixing and matching various metallic-rimmed plates, glasses, and flatware. Don't be afraid to pair old with new, classic with modern. The mashup of metallics will lend an element of sophistication while sparing you dressing the table for a multicourse meal. But all of those dishes have to end up somewhere, so make sure you empty your dishwasher before your party-you'll start one step ahead so you can stash the dishes and avoid a piled-high sink.

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