Celebrate the Irish with food and drink on Martha’s Vineyard

Seasons' version of a traditional Irish meal: corned beef and cabbage. — File photo by Ralph Stewart

Growing up, I dreaded the St. Patrick’s Day boiled dinner at my grandparents’ house. Looking back, I’d eat anything my grandmother served for the opportunity to sit at her table again. But if water-logged meat, potatoes, and cabbage doesn’t rev your appetite, here are a couple of other ideas.

Black Velvet Cocktail

A bartender at the Brook’s Club in London created the Black Velvet cocktail in 1861 while the country was mourning Prince Albert’s death. Legend has it that the bartender demanded that even the Champagne be put into mourning and mixed it with Guinness.

You’ll need:
3 ounces stout
3 ounces Champagne


1. Fill a Champagne flute halfway with Guinness.
2. Top it off with Champagne.
3. Enjoy.

Twice-Baked Potatoes with Irish Cheddar

You’ll need:

4 large russet potatoes
2 teaspoons olive oil, plus more for the pan
3/4 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup sour cream, plus more for serving
1 1/2 cups shredded Irish Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions, white and green parts (about 2 scallions)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 tablespoon thinly sliced scallions or chives


1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Adjust the oven rack to the middle position.
2. Scrub the potatoes under cold, running water, pat dry, and rub with the olive oil. Pierce each potato several times with a fork and arrange on a baking sheet. Bake for about 1 hour, until fork-tender.
3. Remove the potatoes from the oven and set aside just until they’re cool enough to handle. Reduce the oven temperature to 375°F.
4. Cut each potato lengthwise in half, keeping the skins intact. Using a spoon, scoop the flesh from the skins, (leaving about 1/4 inch of potato on the inside) into a large bowl. Mash the potato with a potato masher or the back of a spoon until smooth.
5. Add the half-and-half, sour cream, 1 cup of the Cheddar, scallions, and melted butter and mix gently. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
6. Place the empty potato skins on an oiled baking sheet or in a baking dish. Spoon the potato mixture into the empty potato skin shells. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of Cheddar and the Parmesan.
7. Bake the potatoes for 35 to 40 minutes, until the tops are golden brown and the filling is warmed through. Top each potato half with sour cream and sprinkle with scallions or chives.

St. Patrick’s on the Vineyard

If you do want to go out and enjoy an Irish meal, here are a few places you can go:

The First Baptist Church in Vineyard Haven on Saturday, March 17, at 5:30 pm for a St. Patrick’s Day Dinner and a Movie (“The Quiet Man” with John Wayne). $10; $5 children under 12. Call 508-693-1539 for information.

The Newes from America Pub in Edgartown on March 17, from 11:30 am to 11 pm. Dishes include Irish stew, corned beef and cabbage, shepherd’s pie, and Irish desserts. Part of a weekend-long holiday celebration at The Newes and in Edgartown. Call 508-627-7900 for more information.

Portuguese-American Club in Oak Bluffs on March 17, from 5 to 8 pm for a corned beef and cabbage dinner. $10. Call 508-693-9875 for more information.