Friday, October 9, 2009


Yes, my friends, the time has come.  As promised in my header, I have made butterbeer, and I am passing my recipe on to you.  (Speaking of the header - like it? My aunt made it for me.  Thank you!!)

For the uninformed, butterbeer is a drink that's enjoyed in Harry Potter's world, and is available at parties and in the town pub.  It seems to be mildly alcoholic, as it warms you up even when the drink is cold, and it could potentially make Hermione do things she wouldn't otherwise.  House elves love it.  J.K. Rowling has described the drink as "a little bit like less-sickly butterscotch," but the books don't give a heck of a lot of description on the drink, so it's up to the imagination of the chef.  I always envisioned it to be a butterscotch-like drink, not exactly a soda, but not really a beer.  Sweet, but not disgustingly so.

The first thing I did was look up "butterbeer" and see if it's a real drink, and it turns out that, historically, it is beer served warm and mixed with sugar and butter.  This doesn't sound at all like what I imagined butterbeer to taste like when I read the Harry Potter series, so I looked at some fan sites and found alternate recipes, including some that used root beer, butter and sugar, and some that used club soda and butterscotch syrup.  I read through them and got some ideas, then went out and got my ingredients and experimented. 

I find that my favorite recipe is very simple, as follows:

1 12-oz. bottle of cream soda (I used IBC)
2 tsp. butterscotch sundae syrup
1 Werther's Originals candy

1. Empty the cream soda into a glass.
2. Stir in the butterscotch syrup to dissolve.
3. Drop in an unwrapped candy and let it dissolve.
4. Chill and serve; or, for a hot butterbeer, microwave for 15-20 seconds.

That's it.  Stir it up a bit before drinking, since the syrup will settle to the bottom if left for several minutes.  It's very creamy even without any milk products directly added, and the color is a much more opaque apple cider color than cream soda alone.  To be blunt, it's beautiful.  I could stare at it for a while and be happy.

My friends, you have no idea how long this recipe took me (Well... let's be honest.  Maybe an hour?).  I used cream soda.  I used apple cider (it sounded good to me, and it was, but it was unnecessary).  I contemplated ginger ale.  I tried with just the syrup, with just the candy.  You get the point.  I even made my uncle try a bunch of the variations because I know my sweet tooth is much harder to please than most people.  What I'm saying is, I hope you like it, because, while it is simple, I'm not just resting on my laurels here.  Butterbeer is serious business!

Also, while I initially made this as a cold drink, it was pointed out to me that butterbeer is generally served warm, so I stuck mine in the microwave, and let me tell you - I can't decide which way I like it better.  It's like butterscotch hot chocolate, without the chocolate.

While my version is non-alcoholic, I assume that butterscotch schnapps would be a tasty addition, or substitution for the syrup (I've never had it and don't know the consistancy of schnapps, so I can't venture a guess, but I do love the word schnapps. Schnapps!).  Or maybe some rum would go well.  I'll leave that to you, or for another day when I just happen to have all the ingredients on hand.

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