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Signature Buttermilk Bourbon Waffles

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3 eggs
2 cups of buttermilk
2 tablespoons of bourbon
½ cups of sugar
½ tsp of cinnamon
3 cup (500g) self-rising flour
4 oz melted butter
½ cup oil


1. Separate eggs. Beat whites to form stiff peaks. 
2. Combine egg yolks, buttermilk, bourbon, sugar, and cinnamon. Mix until smooth.
3. Add flour and stir gently until combined. 
4. Melt butter in microwave, add oil to butter; add both the batter and mix until smooth. 
5. Gently fold egg whites into batter, being careful not to over mix. 
6. Add batter to waffle iron and cook according to manufacturer's instructions. 


Preheat oven to 350F.
Lay out strips from one package of bacon on sheet tray.
They should barely overlap except when necessary to fit it all on one tray.
Bake on middle rack of oven for 20-25 minutes.
Rotate in oven.
Continue cooking in five minute intervals until bacon reaches desirable crispiness.

Tip: bacon crisps as it cools, judge crispness of warm bacon by color, not touch. 


There’s really nothing special about my Bourbon Buttermilk Waffles. It’s an average waffle recipe. It’s almost identical to the pancake batter I made when I owned a diner. Except I use real melted sweet cream butter instead of blended oil (which kept profit margins just a little bit higher). I also separate the eggs and beat the whites stiff to add spongy volume.

I started making waffles with bourbon by accident. One day, I was out of vanilla extract. But I figured vanilla extract is basically just alcohol in which vanilla beans have steeped. So, as a substitute, I doubled the amount and replaced it with another flavored alcohol: bourbon—grain alcohol aged in charred barrels.

What kind of bourbon do I use? Old Tub in the video above. But usually, Old Forester 100 Proof. It’s not the same flavor profile as vanilla, but according to the Brown-Forman company it’s got aromas of “strong, sweet coffee laced with chocolate, creamy butterscotch and a hint of licorice.” It’s a spicy, complex whiskey that I first discovered while speaking at a conference about global education and diversity at the Muhammed Ali Museum in Louisville, Kentucky.

After the main event, my girlfriend Amanda and I went for a great night of live music (The Jess Lees) at a cool venue called Jimmy Can’t Dance. It’s a perfect dive bar vibe, located in the basement of a sandwich shop. You walk through the empty, darkened deli to the back, and there’s a whole nightlife scene happening down the stairs. Music is blasting, the bar is crowded, and there’s a big neon sign on the back wall that says, “We’re All Animals.” If you’re ever in Louisville, I highly recommend you check it out.

Anyway, I walk up to the bar and order a bourbon the way I like it, with one ice cube. The bartender looks at me and screams over the music, “what kind?” And I tell him, "nothing expensive." He pours Old Forester 100. I took the first sip and was blown away by how delicious it was. Only in Kentucky, would a bar's low-cost well whiskey be this good. Sure, it’s not Pappy van Winkle, but it’s a great everyday sipper.

When I got back to Philadelphia, I immediately tried to find myself a bottle. Now, I always keep a crystal decanter full on the kitchen counter.

One day, I reached for that decanter while I was making waffles—when I noticed I was out of vanilla extract.

My kids told me they were the best waffles I ever made, so now I keep making them the same way. Honestly, I can barely taste the bourbon. It’s so subtle that you’d hardly know it’s there. It’s probably not even worth adding. Still, I keep pouring it in because it reminds me of that night in Louisville. Plus, it feels just a little bit naughty and subversive to add whiskey to breakfast. When the waffle iron beeps, I hear it like a mantra challenging the puritanical status quo which normalizes the chaste hetero-patriarchal prohibitions and rules that govern family life.

To be clear: all the alcohol cooks off in the waffle iron; my children are not getting tipsy. Just full-bellied.


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