I realize I’m two months late in posting this but seeing as I have not yet gotten to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II, I’m going to indulge us all in a little swirl of fantasy today.
If you have ever read the Harry Potter series you’ve probably wondered what Butterbeer tastes like. The slightly alcoholic drink is served in Hogsmeade and all over the wizarding world to thirsty witches and wizards. It can be served hot or cold and ever since it was first described in Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban, fans have been trying to create their own versions. According to J.K. Rowling, “I made it up. I imagine it to taste a little bit like less sickly butterscotch.”
That description leaves a lot of room for interpretation. I’ve seen literally dozens of recipes online for Butterbeer. I’m sure there are hundreds, if not thousands, in existence. If you’ve ever been to a Harry Potter themed party (I’d be willing to bet someone reading this right now has – I have a lot of geeky friends) you’ve probably tried someone’s home version.
That’s me and my (then four year old) daughter at the Deathly Hallows pre-release party at Barnes and Noble back in 2007. Getting into the spirit of things we tried to make our own version at that time. We used Cream Soda and Butterscotch Schnapps I think. (Obviously we reserved it for the adults) And if I had to describe it I think “sickly sweet” would do it about right. No one could stand to drink it it was so cloying. I abandoned any further attempts after that.
However, when The Wizarding World of Harry Potter finally opened at Universal Studios in Orlando a couple years ago, my interest was renewed. The Butterbeer recipe developed for Universal came after many, many different concoctions were tested and the end result was approved by J.K. Rowling herself. It comes in cold and blended frozen varieties and is the most sought after item in the whole park. People wait in line for hours just to try this stuff. The recipe is, of course, top secret. The only thing we know for sure is that it is non-alcoholic and dairy-free. Visitors to the park describe it as a cross between butterscotch and cream soda with a dense, foamy head that tastes a bit like marshmallow.
The best (by my estimation) copycat recipes I found online were essentially the ingredients for homemade butterscotch and cream soda (some tried to replicate the foamy head, some didn’t). Well guess who just made Butterscotch from scratch last week??? That’s right WE did. And by “we” I mean, you know, me, and any of you that also may have done so at my suggestion.
So let’s do this already!
You’ve already got your Butterscotch Sauce, right?
Most excellent! Now, spoon some into a tall glass and microwave it for a few seconds until it’s hot and super thin again. Don’t worry, we’re going to add lots of very cold Cream Soda in a minute here so it will still be quite cold. We need it thin so it will mix in well. In this picture there’s probably only about a teaspoon of Butterscotch sauce in the glass. It needs more than that to get that good Butterscotch flavor. I was erring on the side of caution at first so we didn’t end up with another sickeningly sweet blend. About a Tablespoon, maybe a little more should do it. To your taste, of course.
Pour in your cold Cream Soda on top of it and you’re good to go! It got a foamy head all on it’s own, just like the one you get with a Root Beer Float. I didn’t even have to mix it. Though, with time, I suspect it will separate – just as the “official” Butterbeer at Universal does. Now if only we had some authentic Gryffindor steins! Ah well. Until we get our butts to Universal this will do for now.
1 Tbsp Butterscotch Sauce (more or less to taste), heated until thin
8 oz Cream Soda
Spoon Butterscotch Sauce into a tall glass and microwave for a few seconds until hot and thin.
Pour very cold Cream Soda into glass.