Wednesday is St. Patrick's Day, time to listen to records by Tommy Makem & The Clancy Brothers or the Dubliners while wavering through a teary rendition of "The Wearing of the Green."
It is time to tuck a shamrock in your buttonhole, a pint in your belly and call on all good Irish friends to celebrate with you.
And where else should you drink to Paddy but in a pub? Roll out the Scotch eggs, order up quantities of brew--be it in kegs (available on order from most liquor stores)--bottles or flip-top cans, and you've created your own Blue Bull or Boar's Head.
If you're feeling generous, you can offer beer from around the world: Moosehead or Molson from Canada, Carta Blanca from Mexico, New Zealand's Steinlager, German's Beck Beer, Holland's Heineken, the Australian Foster Beer in its oversize cans, Bass Ale from England, and, of course, Ireland's Guinness.
Someone with a strong stomach might want to try lemonade shandy or ginger beer shandy (the first a mixture of half lemonade, half beer; the second, half ginger beer, half beer). If you'd like to splurge, there is the delicious Black Velvet, half each of Guinness and champagne, or, if it's poor you're feeling, try the char ladies' favorite, port and lemonade, a drink caustically described by one Englishman as "quite disgusting."
Pub food can be as simple as hard boiled eggs, a plowman's lunch of pickled onions, cheese and bread, or bangers and mash: sausages and mashed potatoes. A little more effort will produce individual pork pies, shepherd's pies or Scotch eggs. The latter are hard boiled, dipped in beaten eggs and covered with a layer of sausage meat. When the egg is covered with a thick coat of sausage, it is rolled in flavored bread crumbs and then deep fried until it is golden brown. The eggs should be made in advance so that they can cool before serving.
And no pub is complete without a dart board. Herman's World of Sporting Goods (with stores at 800 E St. NW, 7326 Baltimore Ave., in College Park, 4350 Jenifer St. NW, and Tyson's Corner, Springfield Mall and White Flint Shopping Center) has dart boards and darts for $12.99 and $19.99. Better quality boards (without darts) are $29.99 and $39.99. As for the darts themselves, you can spend up to $30 for a set of three, depending on how seriously you take the game.
And while the contest rages, try making up your own version of cockney rhyming slang:
Rub-a-dub = pub
Pig's ear = beer
I'm so frisky = whiskey
Trouble & strife = (of course) wife
And, beware the truth of
Drink = Tumble down the sink.