Cooking with Booze: Brunch Edition

Brunch Edition

Ah, the joys of bottomless brunch. Paying a flat rate for endless mimosas while having a long gossip over eggs Benedict is exactly how many of us love to spend our Saturdays. However, in practice, this isn't the sophisticated affair we all like to imagine. After refill number four we sway in our chair, doze off into our porridge, and end up tipping 50% because math is too hard. In short, not a very successful brunch.

Why not eliminate the risk of a public scene and a weirdly-timed evening hangover? Here are a few ways to turn your own home into the classiest boozy brunch venue in town.

1. Red Wine Syrup for Pancakes, Waffles, & French Toast

Why use maple syrup on your food when you booze it up? This red wine syrup will taste great on anything, but try lemon blueberry pancakes for a lovely balance of flavors. This amount made below should yield about a quarter cup of syrup. Don't worry if you overcook the syrup, it won't get ruined. If you find the consistency too thick, just add a bit of water.)


  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup sugar


  1. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan.
  1. Warm over gentle heat, until it reduces to a syrupy consistency. (The amount of time will vary based on the size of your saucepan and the strength of the burner, but for me, this took about 20 minutes.)
  2. Pour on top of pancakes (or whatever) and enjoy.

2. Customized Bellinis

Set up a row of fresh fruit purees and have your guests decide on their favorite ways to drink champagne. Mimosas aren't the only boozy brunch drink!


  • 1 cup strawberries (same amount for whichever fruit you are using)
  • 1 Tbsp. icing sugar (this can be adjusted depending on the fruit and your sweet tooth!)


  1. Purée fruit and sugar in blender.
  1. Sift through fine sieve to get rid of extra bits and seeds.
  1. Encourage your brunch guests to spoon a heaping teaspoon of their favorite fruit purees into their glasses, and top with champagne for a custom morning cocktail.

3. Drunken Strawberries & Cream

If you like to eat more fruit during your brunches and don't care much for champagne, these drunken strawberries are your treat. They're macerated in fruity liqueur, so they're soft and practically melt in your mouth, while making sure that you get your "juice" at the same time.


  • 1 cup whole strawberries
  • 1 oz. orange liqueur
  • ½ Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • whipping cream


  1. Macerate the strawberries in orange liquor and sugar.
  1. Leave covered in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
  1. In the meantime, whip very cold cream using an electric beater until stiff peaks form.
  2. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the strawberries over to serving dish.
  3. Fold the extra macerating liquid into the whipped cream.
  4. Transfer to piping bag, and pipe onto strawberries.

4. Limoncello Curd

There is perhaps nothing I love more than a generous portion of lemon curd on toast or scones. The tangy perfectly balances out the sweet, the yolky richness is counteracted by the sharp citrus, and the end result is so gloriously silky. It couldn't get any better. Or could it? By substituting part of the lemon juice for limoncello, this variation on a traditional English dish will set your brunch apart from all the rest.


  • ¼ cup lime juice (and zest)
  • ¼ cup limoncello (plus 1 Tbsp.)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • pinch of salt
  • 6 Tbsp. butter, cubed and cold


  1. Over a double boiler, whisk lemon juice, limoncello, zest, sugar, egg yolks, and salt until the mixture thickens.
  1. Remove from heat and add butter cubes, whisking constantly as the butter melts.
  2. Pour into your serving bowl (or a small mason jar) and allow the curd to come to room temperature.

The beauty of this curd is that many parts can be substituted, depending on both your fruit and booze of choice. (Of course, the amount of sugar will vary based on the fruit you use. So, for example, oranges and ruby red grapefruits require much less sugar than lemons or limes.)

5. Bailey's Mocha

This is the sort of drink that will make you want to bask on the terrace (or curl up by the fire, if served hot) while the pushovers are stuck cleaning up from the meal.


  • Irish cream
  • Your favorite coffee drink


Simply add some good Irish cream to your favorite coffee drink.

For example, you can make a spiked iced mocha by combining Bailey's with melted dark chocolate, strong coffee, and ice.

You could also use foamed milk, a dash of cinnamon, a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or pre-packaged hot chocolate mix. Regardless, a bit of Irish cream is the perfect thing to make your java boozy brunch appropriate!

6. Shrimp Omelet with Bloody Mary Sauce

This dish takes two classic brunch staples—shrimp cocktail and Bloody Marys—and plays up the flavors they have in common. The Bloody Mary sauce packs a punch that brightens up the lightness of the egg white omelet. By chucking all of the sauce ingredients into a blender while simultaneously cooking the omelet, this impressive dish will take you just 10 minutes to make.

Sauce Ingredients:

  • 5 oz. tomato juice
  • 2 oz. vodka
  • 1 Tbsp. horseradish spread (or, alternatively, 1 Tbsp. of mayonnaise with ½ tsp. grated fresh horseradish)
  • ½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. pepper

Sauce Instructions:

  1. Throw it all in the blender, and go on your merry way!

Omelet Ingredients:

  • 6-10 eggs or egg whites, depending on how hungry your guests are
  • ½ onion, chopped finely
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped finely
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 6 shrimp (again, depending on how many guests you have and their respective appetites)

Omelet Instructions:

  1. Over medium heat, sauté onion and celery in half of olive oil.
  2. When onion has softened, turn heat up to medium-high and add shrimp, cooking on each side for about 2-3 minutes. (Again, cooking time will depend on the shrimp. Mine were pretty small.)
  3. Transfer contents of pan to a bowl.
  4. Beat the eggs and pour them over remaining olive oil into same pan over medium-low heat.
  5. Run a spatula along the edges and tilt the pan, allowing the still runny parts of the egg whites to fill in the lifted area.
  6. When the omelet is completely set, add the contents you have already sautéed and fold in half, and then again into quarters.
  7. Serve with Bloody Mary sauce.

More Brunch-Style Hacks

What are your favorite boozy brunch staples? The possibilities are endless when you reinforce your favorite flavors in creative ways. And if you're looking for more brunch-related hacks, check out these:

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Photos by Laura Holman/Food Hacks

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