Save Your Green with these cheap St. Patrick’s Day Party Ideas

By on March 10, 2017

how to make green beer

Green is always the theme for St. Patrick’s Day. Wear green, or risk the wrath of painful pinching. It’s the one night you can drink green beer and fit right in at the bar. And when it comes to saving some green by throwing your own holiday party, try our best cheap St. Patrick’s Day party ideas!

Drinks, Alcoholic

how to make green jello shots

Try these ideas to serve fun alcoholic drinks on a budget at your St. Paddy’s party.

  • Green Beer: When it comes to making green beer, you can try a few different methods — experiment on your own. But when Betty Crocker tells us how to make green beer, we listen. Place a few drops of green food coloring in a pint glass. Then slowly pour in a light colored beer, which will make the green stand out. Best of all, you can use cheap beer for this recipe. As long as it’s green, no one will care what brand it is. Cost: About $8 for a dozen drinks.
  • Shamrock Punch: Rather than a pot of gold at the end of your rainbow, how about a punch bowl filled with Shamrock Punch? Mix one-third to one-half of a 750ml bottle of rum with 12 ounces of thawed limeade concentrate, 12 ounces of thawed lemonade concentrate, and 2 liters of carbonated lemon-lime soda. A few drops of green food coloring will give it the right look. If desired, add a few scoops of lime sherbet to the bowl at the time you serve the punch and let them slowly melt. Cost: About $10 for a dozen drinks.
  • Green Jell-o Shots: You’ll use Irish whiskey for this recipe. Buy some 4- or 6-ounce paper cups (preferably green) or clear plastic cups for each shot if you don’t have enough shot glasses. Boil 24 ounces of water and mix in three 3-ounce packages of green gelatin powder. Then add 18 ounces of cold water and 6 ounces of whiskey. Pour the mixture into the shot glasses or cups and refrigerate for at least four hours. (To make the mixture greener, you can add a couple drops of green food coloring.) Cost: About $9 for a dozen drinks.

best deals on Guinness

Bonus Drink, Guinness: If you want true Irish beer at your party, it doesn’t get any better than Guinness. (And just so we’re on the same page, even on St. Patrick’s Day, there will be no adding of green dye to Guinness. That’s sacrilege.)

This authentic Irish beer will cost you a bit more than the other options listed here. Try shopping around, especially this time of the year, and you may be able to find some sales on Guinness. For example, my local warehouse club is carrying a case of Guinness cans this month for about $30. Cost: About $15-$20 for a dozen drinks.

Drinks, Non-Alcoholic*

how to make shamrock shakes

Not all St. Patrick’s Day party drinks have to contain alcohol. Really. It’s true. (*But the great thing about each of these drinks is you can add alcohol if you want!)

  • Irish Coffee: To turn regular coffee into Irish coffee, dissolve one tablespoon of brown sugar in a cup filled about three-quarters with coffee. Then add heavy whipped cream to the top one-quarter of the cup and serve. (And if you want to add whiskey to the mix before the cream, we won’t tell.) Cost: About $7 for a dozen drinks (without whiskey).
  • Shamrock Shake (not from McDonald’s): Don’t drive to your favorite fast food restaurant for a Shamrock Shake. Make one at home in a blender. The following recipe will make about four drinks. Use four large scoops of vanilla ice cream, one-third cup of whole milk, one-quarter teaspoon of mint extract, and a few drops of green food coloring. Blend them together and pour them into glasses. Top with whipped cream. Some people will drizzle chocolate sauce over the whole thing, or will add chocolate sprinkles on the top. (Blend in 4 ounces of peppermint schnapps if you want to make four alcoholic drinks.)  Cost: About $9 for a dozen drinks (without alcohol).


how to make Irish stew

If you want to cook corned beef and cabbage at your home for your party, more power to you. Or if you’re like most people, and the smell of cooked cabbage makes you want to move out, try these fun Irish-themed foods that don’t cost much to prepare … and don’t smell bad.

  • Irish Soda Bread: Betty Crocker knows about more than green beer. The Betty Crocker Irish Soda Bread recipe is really good and takes less than 1 hour of prep and cook time. (I’d recommend skipping adding the raisins though.) Soda bread is a bit like corn bread without the corn meal. Cost: About $4 for a dozen people.
  • Irish Stew: A simple Irish stew recipe is a great pairing with soda bread. The linked recipe from tastes great. It’s easy to make, with onions, carrots, potatoes, and beef as the primary ingredients. This is a great slow cooker recipe. (You’ll have to triple the linked recipe to feed a dozen people.) Cost: About $18 for a dozen people.
  • Sweet Treat: To make a simple dessert, visit your local grocery store’s bulk candy section. Buy various green candies, such as Skittles, M&Ms, jelly beans, gumdrops, et cetera. (It really is unfortunate that using this method, you’ll have to eat all of the non-green candies separately.) Additionally, look for green and gold foil wrapped candies, such as chocolate toffees, chocolate coins, or Rolos. Then purchase some black, green, and/or gold cupcake baking cups and place some candy in each of them. Cost: About $4 per dozen cups.


best st patricks day decorations

Depending on the type of party you’re throwing, decorations may be last on your list. But try these inexpensive ideas to make your home feel as though a leprechaun may at least have visited.

  • Colorful Rainbow and Pot of Gold: Use strips of inexpensive tissue paper to create a rainbow that leads to a pot of gold. You can use a black construction paper cutout for a black pot or have the rainbow lead to “pots” filled with green and gold foil wrapped candy, as described above. Cost: About $4.
  • Green Lighting: Do you have some green Christmas lights stored away? (Hopefully they’re still not hanging on your house two-plus months after Christmas.) Put them to use for your St. Patrick’s Day party. Or try some of our LED lighting ideas to create cool green lights around your home. Cost: Free to about $20.

Going Green

If you put together an all-green party for a dozen people using the 10 cheap St. Patrick’s Day party tips listed here, you’d spend about $8-$12 per person for a full meal plus a handful of drinks. Not bad. Just don’t forget to include a green t-shirt to avoid a night full of pinching … unless you’re into that sort of thing. Have enough green Jell-o shots, and you probably won’t feel the pinches anyway.

About Kyle Schurman

Having a tech background as a writer makes me the go-to source when family members' devices don't work. Fortunately, I'm more skilled at helping solve readers' problems through writing than trying to fix my parents' printer over the phone.

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