How To: The Triwizard Tournament of Homemade Butterbeer—Which Recipe Wins?

The Triwizard Tournament of Homemade Butterbeer—Which Recipe Wins?

Harry Potter fans got a treat last week when Pottermore, a site created by Harry Potter author, J. K. Rowling, released a test that let users learn what form their Patronus protective charm would take.

Does it need to be said? The internet almost exploded.

Riding this new wave of Potter-mania, and in anticipation of the upcoming release of the next movie from Rowling's canon, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, on November 18, 2016, we decided to take a go at one of the Wizarding World's favorite treats—butterbeer.

One of the most vivid memories I have from devouring the Harry Potter books as a tween was how jealous I felt the first time I read about the gang going to Hogsmeade and getting to try butterbeer at the Three Broomsticks. Something about 14-year-old kids getting to go into a super old pub to drink slightly alcoholic beverages filled me with envy. It wasn't until I got to check out the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando and try the drink myself that the little green monster on my shoulder went away. If you haven't gotten a chance to experience butterbeer yet, let me tell you—it is damn delicious.

As a point of reference, J. K. Rowling has described butterbeer's taste as "a little bit like less sickly butterscotch." Most of the recipes call for the same few ingredients (cream soda, caramel and butterscotch syrups, and whipped cream) with a few choice alterations. We've even included a boozy twist for the adults who want to relive the magic of their childhoods!

What You'll Need

This is a roundup of all the ingredients I used during my trials. Each section below includes the specific ingredients for that particular recipe.

Image by Katie Puccio/Food Hacks Daily
  • 2 l. cream soda
  • 1 pt. heavy cream
  • 5 oz. butterscotch syrup
  • 5 oz. caramel syrup
  • ¼ c. powdered sugar
  • ½ c. marshmallow creme
  • 1 Tbsp. butterscotch pudding mix
  • 1 pt. vanilla ice cream
  • 1 oz. vanilla or whipped cream flavored vodka (optional)
  • 1 oz. dark spiced rum (optional)

Confession: I didn't end up using the Cool Whip featured in the picture above. Hey—sometimes when you blaze a new path, you gotta leave out the stuff that doesn't make the cut.

Butterbeer #1

I do solemnly swear that I am up to no good.

Image by Katie Puccio/Food Hacks Daily

This recipe requires the least amount of work—perfect for someone who subscribes to the minimal-input/maximum-output style of cooking—and works great when made in bulk for a HP watch party. A few different sites use this same recipe, but we found it on Intoxicology. Here's what you need:

  • 8 oz. cream soda
  • 1 tsp. butterscotch syrup
  • 1 tsp. caramel syrup
  • heavy cream
  • 1 oz. vanilla/whipped cream flavored vodka (optional)
  • 1 oz. dark spiced rum (optional)
  • ½ c. ice (optional)

In a frosted mug (or mason jar, if that's your aesthetic), combine the cream soda with the caramel sauce. This will give the soda a slightly cloudy appearance. Then, in a small bowl, whip up some heavy cream until peaks begin to form. I recommend giving your whipped cream a slightly looser consistency than normal; otherwise, the foamy topping will be much thicker than the soda and won't mix well.

Once you have your cream whipped into shape, fold in the butterscotch syrup. Then, add a healthy dollop of the whipped topping on top of the caramel soda mixture and voilà. The hint of butterscotch in the faux foam will be the first thing to hit your tongue when you take a sip of the final product, giving the butterbeer its signature flavor profile.

Homemade butterbeer can definitely make you nostalgic about your childhood HP obsession, but you can fight those feels like an adult by adding a little alcohol in your favorite form. (Firewhisky, anyone?)

Like Voldemort's heart, this cocktail is definitely best served ice cold... so the first step is to combine the flavored vodka, rum, caramel, and butterscotch syrups in a shaker with some ice. Then, strain the mixture over ice in a highball glass. Bring the whole drink together by pouring some cream soda on top of the alcohol, giving it a quick stir, and adding some of the whipped cream from earlier to top it all off. This is a cocktail that would make James and Lily proud—cheers!

Butterbeer #2

This butterbeer below is definitely my favorite of all the recipes we tried, just saying!

Image by Katie Puccio/Food Hacks Daily
  • 8 oz. cream soda
  • 1 tsp. caramel syrup
  • 5 oz. heavy cream
  • ¼ c. powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. butterscotch pudding

We found this recipe on the YouTube channel Let's Eat Fiction, which recreates food from movies, TV shows, and books. This recipe uses the same base as recipe #1, so go get that cream soda and caramel syrup all mixed up. I'll wait.

And now, for what makes this butterbeer recipe better than the rest... the topping.

Images by Katie Puccio/Food Hacks Daily

Pour your heavy cream, powdered sugar, and butterscotch pudding mix into a medium bowl. With either an electric mixer or hand whisk, whip the mixture until stiff peaks form and the cream has a smooth texture.

Now, plop a big spoonful of the cream right on top of the caramel soda mixture and you're good to go! Harry, Hermione, and Ron never had it so good.

(Want to make this variety alcoholic as well? Just follow the steps from recipe #1.)

Butterbeer #3

Okay, I'm going to start by saying that this is not the most traditional of butterbeers, but I wanted to put a fun Food Hacks Daily spin on some of the recipes I found online to create something different.

Image by Katie Puccio/Food Hacks Daily

A few places online called for the butterbeer to get its creamy texture from vanilla ice cream, so I immediately thought a butterbeer float sounded delicious. Here's what you'll need:

  • 8 oz. cream soda
  • 1 scoop vanilla ice cream
  • 1 tsp. caramel syrup
  • 5 oz. heavy cream
  • ¼ c. marshmallow creme
  • ½ tsp. butterscotch pudding mix

Start by scooping the vanilla ice cream right into the bottom of your frosted glass. Then, like you're a Starbucks barista, drizzle some caramel around the inside of the glass—you deserve that luxury at home!

Image by Katie Puccio/Food Hacks Daily

Pour the cream soda over the ice cream and let the foam start to settle on the top. Once the carbonation has calmed down, carefully scoop the extra bubble buildup off the top—we want this float to have butterbeer's signature creamy topping, not any weird fluff.

In a separate bowl, whip up the heavy cream and the butterscotch pudding mix until it's nice and thick, then fold in the marshmallow creme. This topping is butterscotch-heavy and pretty sweet, but it makes a nice addition to the float. Think of this as your dessert butterbeer, or a Potter-inspired nightcap.

Mischief Managed!

These three kinds of butterbeer will hit the spot for all you HP fans out there—whether you're browsing Pottermore or rereading the OG series for the hundredth time. But if you want a brew that would make the patrons at The Three Broomsticks jealous, I highly recommend the second recipe that uses butterscotch pudding mix.

Do you have a butterbeer recipe that you swear by? Share it with us in the comments below.

More Magical Brews:

Cover image via Jason Graham/Flickr

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