Get Ready for Saint Patrick’s Day: A History, Party Ideas, & Drinks to Mix Up

Have you ever celebrated St. Patty’s Day? Here at Distillery Nearby, we love any and all reasons to celebrate with a cocktail or glass of spirits, so Saint Patrick’s Day is amazing. But, what is Saint Patrick’s Day, and who celebrates it? In this post, we’ll take a look at the history of Saint Patrick’s Day, some Saint Patrick’s Day drinks you can mix up in honor of this day, and we’ll answer “when is Saint Patrick’s Day this year?” Let’s jump right in and get you some answers to your questions!

What Is Saint Patrick’s Day?

Saint Patrick’s Day, also known as St. Patty’s Day, is essentially a remembrance of the death of Saint Patrick. Traditionally, this was a day simply to eat delicious foods and remember all that the patron Saint of Ireland did during his life. However, the holiday has evolved into a reason to drink and wear green – and we’re not too upset about it.

What Is the History Behind Saint Patrick’s Day?

For more than a thousand years, the Irish have celebrated Saint Patrick’s Day. This holiday, interestingly, falls in the middle of Lent, a time of fasting and restraint that many Christian cultures follow. Saint Patrick’s Day, at least for the Irish, has always been a celebration that involved feasting, drinking, and a classic, Irish bacon and cabbage.

Who Was Saint Patrick?

Saint Patrick was alive during the fifth century, and we aren’t exactly sure when he was born and when he died. Sources suggest that he was first brought to Ireland as a slave, but he escaped eventually, only to return as a missionary.

He arrived in Ireland as a missionary in 432 AD. Some sources suggest that this date was recorded and chosen to undermine another bishop, Palladius. Patrick and Palladius were both allegedly missionaries and bishops, and the poor record-keeping of the time makes some of the history surrounding Saint Patrick and Palladius a bit questionable.

Regardless, Saint Patrick is revered as the “patron saint” of Ireland, and most modern-day celebrations of Saint Patrick’s Day have more to do with celebrating being Irish than they do with celebrating Saint Patrick himself.

What Are the Colors and Symbols of Saint Patrick’s Day?

Green

Traditionally, green is the “color” of Saint Patrick’s Day. Many people think that this is because of Ireland’s nickname: the Emerald Isle. There is also a stripe in the Irish flag that is green – green is an important color to the Irish people! However, the color’s association with Ireland goes much further than that – to, you guessed it, politics!

In fact, prior to the green color taking over Ireland, a light blue was associated with the country – their 18th-century knights wore light blue. Choosing blue wasn’t outside the norm; after all, Britain’s royal blue was in style during this time. However, the gorgeous green we use today came about at the end of the 18th century as a symbol of bringing republican ideals to Ireland. 

This, of course, was initiated by the American and French revolutions, which inspired many countries to reconsider their attachments to other nations and become separated, in a way. And, the literature and music of the time solidified this in Irish minds. During this time, “The Wearing of the Green” became a popular song sung by bards across the country.

The “Shamrock”

Back in Ireland’s history, the harp used to be a symbol for Irish kings. And, this practice continued pretty much up until Saint Patrick brought Christianity to Ireland and used the “Shamrock” to describe the Trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit). A three-leaf clover is not only a great representation of this, but it is also green – a favorite in Ireland. So, adopting a Shamrock as their symbol made plenty of sense for Ireland at the time.

When Is Saint Patrick’s Day This Year?

Next, let’s take a look at another question: when is Saint Patrick’s Day this year? Saint Patrick’s Day falls on March 17th every year. This holiday, though it falls during Lent, is not explicitly tied to Easter, so it doesn’t move around every year. In Ireland itself, you may see celebrations that span several days’ time.

In 2023, St. Patrick’s Day is on a Friday, and in 2024 it will be on a Sunday. In 2025, St. Patty’s Day will be on a Monday, and in 2026 on a Tuesday. In the United States, we tend to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day on the day itself, but some people will plan parties and get-togethers around this day, too. You may also see restaurants and pubs have specials the week of St. Patrick’s Day.

Ideas for Celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day

If you’ve never celebrated Saint Patrick’s Day before, you might not know what to expect – and that’s fine. We have several ideas for you, even if you aren’t going to (or throwing) a party:

Just Wear Green!

One way to show your support for Irish Americans is simply by wearing green! As we discussed, green is the national color of Ireland, and wearing the color green will show that you’re thinking of your Irish friends!

Sip on an Irish Beverage

There are many different alcoholic beverages that you can partake in on Saint Patrick’s day, but the most traditional option is a simple pour of Irish Whiskey or a tall Stout. These are classics in pubs across Ireland, and we don’t blame them!

For those who want to get a little bit fancier for their St. Patty’s Day celebration, we have a collection of Saint Patrick’s Day drinks at the end of the post. Enjoy responsibly!

Eat an Irish Meal

As we mentioned above, a traditional Irish meal would be bacon and cabbage, but Irish immigrants found that bacon was much too expensive in America to continue this tradition, so they started making Corned Beef and Cabbage. You can find tons of recipes online, but this dish is really quite simple and outrageously delicious – especially with a loaf of homemade Irish Soda Bread!

Most grocery stores will have corned beef briskets ready to cook and pre-cured. Aside from this huge hunk of beef, you’ll also need large chunks of vegetables like cabbage, potatoes, and carrots. This meal can be made in the oven, on the stove, or even in your slow cooker!

Learn More!

Another way you can show your support for Irish American friends and family is by learning more about their culture and history. This post has you off to a great start, and you can share any information you find on social media or with those friends and family members so that they can learn more, too!

Saint Patrick’s Day Drinks to Sip On

Now, we get to share some delicious Irish (or just plain green) cocktails that you can mix up on Saint Patrick’s Day this year. Remember, if you’re looking for a drink that perfectly encapsulates Irish culture, you’ll want to reach for a Stout or an Irish Whiskey.

The Irish Coffee

If you’re looking for a delicious pick-me-up, you really can’t go wrong with Irish Coffee. It only has five ingredients and it is bold and delicious. Simply pour 1 ½ oz Irish Cream (like Bailey’s) and 1 ½ oz Irish Whiskey into a preheated coffee mug. Pour coffee in, leaving room for your whipped cream. Whip some heavy whipping cream and dollop about a tablespoon on top, then garnish with a pinch of ground nutmeg.

The “Pot-o-Gold” Cocktail

Think apple and coconut for this cocktail – if you like those flavors, you’ll be happy sipping on one of these delicious drinks. Plus, they can be dyed green, so what’s not to love?

For this cocktail, you’ll want to stir together 2 oz sour apple schnapps, 2 oz coconut rum, and 4 oz pineapple juice with some ice. Your drink will be yellow, so if you want it green, just add a drop or two of green food coloring. Most people garnish this drink with maraschino cherries.

The “Green Dublin” Cocktail

For this recipe, you’ll need Irish Whiskey, green apple schnapps, and white cranberry juice, and it’s really easy to mix up. Into a cocktail shaker with ice, pour 4 oz Irish Whiskey, 4 oz white cranberry juice, and 2 oz sour apple schnapps. Some sources suggest that you should muddle mint into the drink, while others say to garnish it with mint.

Shake your drink well, then strain it into a martini glass. Garnish with your mint and a thin slice of granny smith apple!

And Many More

There are so many drinks you could mix up for Saint Patrick’s Day – too many to mention here! However, if you’re looking for something else, we highly recommend the “Irish Eyes” cocktail, a spiked shamrock shake, the “Luck of the Irish” cocktail, or even Guinness jello shots! Get out of your comfort zone this St. Patty’s Day and try something new!

Distillery Nearby: Your Source for Local Spirits to Pour in Your St. Patty’s Day Cocktails

If you’re looking for a local, craft distillery where you can find top-notch spirits for your Saint Patrick’s Day celebration, look no further than our “by-state” page of listings for your area! We encourage you to discover and support local businesses in your area that make craft spirits – we’re sure they’ll appreciate your business, regardless of what holiday you’re celebrating!

From the team at Distillery Nearby,

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

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