To say I’m a wee bit Irish would be an understatement. I have Irish on both sides of my family (and my great grandparents came over through Ellis Island), and I married an Irish man whose last name is Meehan. Our children’s names are Kieran and Finn. My maiden name is Reilly. Really, all we’re missing is a pet leprechaun.
And while I don’t rush out to drink green beer and do endless shots of Jameson on St. Patty’s day, I DO like to celebrate with lots of Irish-themed food.
Starting with breakfast.
Starting with pancakes, to be more exact. Pancakes spiked with a touch of whiskey and coffee and then doused in a sweet whiskey syrup. Oh yes. We’re going there.
The pancakes themselves taste like a cup of Irish coffee – sweet and warm and a touch naughty. And the syrup! Oh my gosh, I could picture this whiskey syrup on so, so many things. French toast might be my next experiment. Oh! Or maybe as a substitute for regular simple syrup in a cocktail! It’s sweet and syrupy, just like you’d expect, but with an extra kick! It’s so delicious.
So, as you guys may know by now because I’ve talked about it so often in the past, sweet breakfasts are not my go to. I am a savory person through and through. Give me all the eggs and avocado toast, please. But every once in awhile, for special occasions, I want to make a sweeter take on breakfast.
Kieran LOVES pancakes, and while I wouldn’t serve him THESE specifically, it is a go-to sweet breakfast item in our household. He gets so excited when we announce that pancakes are for breakfast, and those moments of childhood innocence and glee are what I live for these days.
These are definitely an adult-only version of pancakes, between the coffee and the booze, but even if you have to eat them in private, hiding from your children, they’re worth it.
The batter starts out as most pancake batters do: flour, sugar, eggs, buttermilk, etc. I add the Irish coffee aspect by mixing in some espresso powder (instant coffee would also work) and a shot of Irish whiskey. And while I immediately feel devious doing this, the flavor this adds is phenomenal. If whiskey for breakfast isn’t your thing (totally fair), you could just leave it out! Coffee pancakes would still be fantastic.
While the pancakes are cooking, I make the whiskey syrup by first reducing down some whiskey on the stove. You want to cook it down a bit to take some of that edge off and to bring out the sugars. I add in sugar and some maple syrup and simmer until the sugar is dissolved (just like making a simple syrup!). And because I prefer warm syrup on pancakes, waffles, etc., I just leave it on the stove until I’m ready to serve the pancakes.
The concoction makes the whole house smell amazing. I would bottle it up and put it in a candle if I could. Irish coffee pancakes candle. Yes! Let’s make it a thing.
These Irish Coffee Pancakes with Whiskey Syrup are a fun way to kick off your St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. They’re spiked with the flavors of Irish coffee and served dripping with whiskey maple syrup. A delicious and fun way to start the day!
For the Whiskey Syrup:
- ½ cup Irish whiskey
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
For the Pancakes:
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons espresso powder (or instant coffee)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon fine salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1½ cups buttermilk
- 3 tablespoons Irish whiskey
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for the griddle
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or extract)
Optional Toppings for Serving:
- Whipped cream
- Fresh berries
- Ground cinnamon
- Powdered sugar
For the Whiskey Syrup:
- Place the whiskey in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Stirring frequently, simmer the whiskey until it is reduced by roughly half, about 5-7 minutes.
- Once the whiskey is reduced, whisk in the sugar and maple syrup and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
- Remove from the heat and keep warm until you are ready to serve.
For the Pancakes:
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, espresso powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, whiskey, melted butter, and vanilla.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until just combined; do not overmix! Some lumps are a good thing. Set the batter aside to rest for 15 minutes.
- Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium heat. Brush with melted butter.
- Pour roughly ⅓ cup of the pancake batter on the hot griddle; add as many pancakes as will fit without overcrowding the pan.
- Cook for a couple minutes or until bubbles form on top of the pancakes and the bottom is golden brown. Gently flip each pancake and cook for a minute or two more on the second side.
- Transfer the pancakes to a baking sheet and keep in a 200F oven until you are ready to serve. Continue with the remaining batter.
Serve the pancakes warm and topped with freshly whipped cream and the whiskey syrup. Dust with cinnamon and powdered sugar, as desired.
If whiskey for breakfast is not your thing, you can leave it out of the pancake batter and sub a few tablespoons of buttermilk or milk instead. You can serve the pancakes with regular maple syrup as well.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Category: breakfast
Keywords: Irish coffee pancakes, coffee pancakes, whiskey syrup, St. Patrick's day food ideas, Irish breakfast