Go beyond the bottomless Mimosas and build-your-own Bloody Mary bars, because boozy brunches can get better—and boozier. Across the U.S., restaurants are taking full advantage of boozy brunchers’ eternal appetites for new spiked concoctions by incorporating alcohol into their entrees. Here, our favorite spiked brunch dishes from around America.
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Bad Kid’s Pancakes at Article 24, Boston, MA
You know a brunch dish goes hard when it comes with an age requirement. Chefs mix Irish cream and coffee liqueur directly into the batter of these boozy buttermilk pancakes, and the entire 21-and-over stack is doused in whiskey syrup, along with a heap of whipped cream and powdered sugar.
Bo-Bam Pancakes at Sanborn’s in Portland, OR
A single German pancake, aka a Dutch baby, towers high above a stack of its scrawny American peers. The lofty baked good can be stuffed with fruit, but no restaurant has taken better advantage of all the space in the pillowy cake than Sanborn’s, where chefs sautée apples and bacon in local bourbon before stuffing the mix into the pancake with maple syrup.
When a nightclub mogul opened this p.m.-only diner on Hollywood Boulevard, it was inevitable that booze would find its way from the bar menu into the breakfast items. Drunken French Toast is a straightforward descriptor for a next-level boozy brunch dish you can only get after dark. Chefs coat challah in a mix of crispy rice cereal, pear brandy, red pear compote and mascarpone mousse, before sizzling it all to caramelized perfection.
Tequila Infused French Toast at Oak House Mexican Kitchen in Floral Park, NY
While bourbon and rum are easily translated into the mid-morning world of syrups and glazes, this spiked French toast variation takes a walk on the wild side, opting for tequila instead. Out on Long Island, Oak House Mexican Kitchen takes advantage of tequila’s natural propensity for fruity pairings. The restaurant’s thick French toast comes slathered with orange tequila butter, seasonal fruits and maple syrup.
Pina Colada French Toast at Meemom’s in Middletown, NJ
The many, many French toasts at Meemom’s have attracted cult-like devotion from New Jersey residents with insane toppings like Cap’n Crunch cereal, Twix bars and Oreos (in a menu item called YOLO that stands for “You Obviously Love Oreos”), but it’s the Piña Colada toast that has us drooling. Topped with French vanilla mascarpone, fresh pineapple, toasted coconut, fresh mint, powdered sugar and rum sauce, it’s an edible version of everyone’s favorite vacay cocktail. An honorable mention goes to the Banana’s Foster French Toast, which is also glazed in rum sauce, but swaps the rest of the toppings out for bananas, pecans and powdered sugar.
Fried Chicken and Waffle Sandwich at Sweet Chick, New York, NY
Sweet Chick, the fried chicken chain co-owned by New York-born rapper Nas, knows no one wants to wait for the weekend to indulge in some boozed up nibbles. The restaurant offers weekday brunch for those who can slip away from work, and the Monday-to-Friday menu includes this chicken and waffle sandwich. The fried chicken is sandwiched between two waffles along with black eyed pea spread and crispy jalapeños, but the bourbon molasses glaze makes it a clear upgrade from your basic desk-side BLT.
The spicy Nashville-style hot chicken at Sisters and Brothers rips right through your boring brunch routine, and the whiskey honey butter that coats the buttermilk waffle only turns up the heat another notch. While you can get your chicken hot, mild or “naked,” we think proud drinkers well suited to whiskey’s heat can easily handle the “insane” level.
Caribbean Eggs Benedict at Habana Costa Mesa, Costa Mesa, CA
You don’t go to Habana for a bland brunch experience. You go to this all-star Cuban eatery for plantain pancakes, breakfast empanadas and the rum-spiked eggs benedict. With rum-infused hollandaise, spicy crab meat and jamon serrano on top of a grilled corn cake, the dish may not be an authentic taste of the Caribbean or the classic brunch dish, but it’s worth abandoning your loyalties for a bit of that gooey, savory egg and sweet, sweet rum.
Donas de Requeson Port Fonda, Westport, MO
Deep in the heart of whiskey and barbecue country, Port Fonda is turning out tequila and mezcal cocktails alongside a bounty of Mexican-inspired brunch dishes. Besides all the huevos and chilaquiles you can scarf down, the restaurant plumbs oily, cheesy, deep-fried gold from the fryer in the form of ricotta doughnuts. The sweet nuggets hit the table covered in maple-mezcal tres leches, plus cinnamon-sugar and fresh berries.
Jameson Black Barrel Burger at Rare Bar and Grill, New York, NY
Brunch burgers are de rigueur these days, but a flambéed brunchtime burger is even better. The Jameson Black Barrel Burger at Rare Bar gets a fiery bath in Irish whiskey, and is served with aged whiskey slaw for an extra boozy kick. The restaurant will even pair the burger with a shot of Jameson 12-year for a small additional charge, for a true whiskey-lover’s meal.
Tequila Sunrise at The Griddle Cafe, Hollywood Hills, CA
When you develop a tequila-spiked ranchero sauce, you put that boozy sauce on everything. That’s the lesson we learned from The Griddle Cafe, where they dump their boozed-up sauce on not only their huevos rancheros (called the Tequila Sunrise on the menu), but also their Some Like It HOT Scramble (with chicken tequila sausage, jack cheese, avocado, pico de gallo and ranchero sauce) and their “Tequila Jo’s” Shrimp Tacos (with avocado, pico de gallo, chipotle and ranchero sauces). Back to that Tequila Sunrise, though: corn tortillas, sunny side up eggs, two cheeses, chicken tequila sausage and spiked ranchero sauce. Now that’s how you start a day.
BBQ Shrimp and Grits at Tableau, New Orleans, LA
Shrimp and grits is a Lowcountry point of pride, as is Louisiana’s own Abita brand beer. The two come together at Tableau in New Orleans. Chefs bathe jumbo shrimp in New Orleans-style barbecue sauce (made up of Worcestershire, lemon, pepper and butter) as well as Abita, then nestle them in a golden bed of stone ground grits. Once the shrimp are gone, scoop up any remaining beer-infused, gritty goodness with French bread, and chase it all down with, what else, an Abita.