Butterbeer from Harry Potter

On the Harry Potter Superfan scale of one to ten, I’m probably an eight and a half. I’ve never written Harry and Hermione love story fan fiction or tattooed a snitch on my body, but I did go to every single midnight book release party, wand (aka knobby twig) in hand. There’s something about Rowling’s world building that just captured me, from the clever beginning to the poignant end.

One of the things that I found so charming was the food Rowling invented. (For Girls on Food, it’s about the food. It’s always about the food.) Pumpkin juice (still working on that pumpkin juice recipe, by the way), Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans, Chocolate Frogs (they hop!), Cauldron Cakes, treacle tart (which I know is actually a real dish in Great Britain)…it all made my mouth water.

When I first cracked the pages of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, I fell in love with the concept of butterbeer. If you live under a rock and have never heard of it, butterbeer is a slightly intoxicating libation which J.K Rowling deliciously describes for the first time in the third book of the series. I love anything having to do with caramel or butterscotch, so this liquid goodness seemed to be the stuff of my dreams.

My sister and mother recently took my niece (4) and nephew (7) to Disney and Universal. I wasn’t able to join them because of my daughter’s first birthday. They had a blast, and I can’t say I wasn’t envious when they sent me photos of their glasses of butterbeer in the Three Broomsticks. It was the perfect time to perfect my DIY butterbeer recipe. In the past, I had thoroughly researched recipes on the internet; I was comforted to find others as obsessed as I am with the food and drink of Harry Potterdom. I found hot and cold versions. I found recipes with melted butter, cider vinegar, and others with spices like nutmeg and cinnamon. I found ones with 15 ingredients and as many steps. One ingredient almost every recipe had in common was cream soda, probably for the carbonation requirement.  I tried a version with melted butter and brown sugar, but I thought it made it tooth-achingly sweet. After a few attempts, I can confidently say I managed to concoct what I believe is authentic butterbeer with only a few ingredients: cream soda, butterscotch schnapps, butter, and whipped cream. Only Madam Rosmerta can say for sure, though. As for the taste, it’s like liquid gold sliding down your throat and puddling in a buttery pool at your feet.

Cream Soda

Many recipes use a whipped marshmallow-like foam for the “head” of the beer. I opted for plain whipped cream, although you could omit it and it would still be absolutely delicious. If you were seeking a higher-gravity version, perhaps for a Harry Potter-themed adult Halloween party, I’d add a few ounces of caramel vodka. I have no idea why I gravitated towards the hot version of this; perhaps it’s because Rowling describes it as having a slight warming effect on the young wizards and witches. Although the recipe below requires heating on the stove, you could absolutely combine the schnapps and cream soda chilled, and then topped with the whipped cream (if opting for the cold version, I’d skip the butter).

For Harry Potter enthusiasts, this one is a must try, and there’s no better time than the next few days, when temperatures are expected to drop courtesy of the Arctic Blast. Warm up with a steaming mug of this deliciousness, why don’t you?

Harry Potter’s Butterbeer
Makes one drink

  • 1 bottle (or can) of your favorite cream soda
  • 1 shot butterscotch schnapps
  • 1 sliver of butter
  • whipped cream for topping (optional)
  • sprinkles (optional)
  1. Pour cream soda into a small saucepan.
  2. Warm over medium heat until hot.
  3. Add butter and stir until melted.
  4. Remove from heat and pour into a mug.
  5. Add schnapps.
  6. Top with whipped cream and sprinkles (optional).
  7. Curl up in a comfy chair and crack open Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
Dive in!
Dive in!

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