This blog’s most popular post, by far, is about Homemade Harry Potter Butterbeer. It was exciting to compile my research and compare/contrast the different homemade concoctions on the internet. Initially, I intended to make a few of the recipes myself, but there was one big thing standing in my way:
All of the homemade Butterbeer recipes looked gross!
Too sugary. Wayyyy too sweet. Sugar upon fructose upon sweetener upon chemical sweetness. Imitation butter flavoring? Cream soda AND sugar AND syrup? No thanks.
I’m definitely not a great practitioner of healthy eating, even though I try to be conscious of a healthy diet. And if I could give up one “bad” thing in my diet, it would be sugar.
Yet homemade Harry Potter Butterbeer remains a fun recipe to try out, especially if one is throwing a Harry Potter Christmas party (like my roommates and I did, and it was awesome, see end of post for some pics).
So I decided to try some recipes myself, and was pleasantly surprised by the results of the recipe that has been around the longest. A recipe that dates all the way back to the 16th Century.
And yes, the recipe that turned out to be awesome has both BUTTER and BEER, and is very easy to make without crazy ingredients.
I’ll start with the recipes that DIDN’T work.
I picked a few recipes from this chart I came up with from my research. Here it is again:
All of them suggest cream soda, so that’s what my base would be.
I also purchased Butterscotch Schnapps, because why not. That seemed like a fun/unique ingredient that would help these drinks stand apart from others.
I wanted to try and avoid extracts and more sugary substances as much as possible. There were a few dairy products as well, but I looked in the fridge and thought maybe coffee creamer would be a good ingredient to play around with.
And I wanted to actually use butter. Less than half of these recipes actually included real butter.
I made 5 different drinks:
- Cream soda + schnapps + spices (nutmeg and cloves)
- Cream soda + rum + spices
- Cream soda + creamer + spices
- Cream soda + creamer + butter + spices
- Cream soda + butter + schnapps + spices
This next photo is gross, but that’s what happens when I tried to take melted butter and whip it in a cold drink.
I took very few notes, because honestly, they were all pretty terrible.
And I should say they were all terrible COLD. Maybe if I heated them up a bit I would have liked them better?
So I tried to add some heat. I melted the butter with spices, then added the schnapps at the end to heat it up a bit, make it a bit syrupy. Then I topped it off with cream soda. THAT was the best of these recipes I came across. But it left a great deal to be desired.
These recipes led to some interesting yet unpleasant experiments, and I know I could have been more accurate and followed the exact recipes listed online, but I was content getting the gist of these ingredients.
Now onto the awesome Butterbeer recipe…
First thing to know is that this recipe is alcoholic. Why go that route? Because a) it’s way more fun and b) “beer” is in the title! If you want to make a non-alcoholic recipe, substitute beer with ginger beer.
I used resources I came across in my last blog post regarding old school (or should I say olde school) recipes that dated back to the time of the Tudors in England. And this is a fun post that dove into the world of Tudor buttered beer (with some analysis of the Harry Potter drink).
Here is the video that convinced me following the classic recipe was the way to go:
You’ll see how this chef thought this recipe seemed “revolting” and looked like “something you would throw up” but then he is genuinely surprised! And so was I, when I made this.
Here is the recipe I used, but with some alterations. (From this website)
Recipe for Butterbeer:
Yolks from 2 medium eggs, whisked
Dash of nutmeg
15g unsalted butter
Pour the ale into a warm pan on a medium heat. When the beer begins to come to the boil take off the heat and add the whisked egg yolks, sugar and nutmeg.
Return the pot to a low heat (to stop the eggs from scrambling) and stir for 2 minutes. Take off the heat and whisk in the butter. Decant into your finest flagon and chug.
For my recipe, since I was planning on serving this at a Christmas party, I didn’t want to freak out the guests by telling them there were egg yolks in this. So I used egg whites, which added a wonderful creaminess/frothiness to the whole thing.
Also, I used a Sam Adams Winter Lager. I know the recipe says to use an Ale, and I think that it may work better with a lighter beer, but it worked with a wintery Lager just fine. Maybe the smell of warmish beer may bring back some bad sense memories to you, so be mindful of that.
I heated up the sauce pan and slowly poured in beer (not slow enough! watch your pour or else you’ll get too much head).
I then added some freshly ground cloves (yay!) and some old, store-bought nutmeg (boo!).
I stirred until the beer head was reduced and also waited for the beer to steam/boil. I mean RIGHT before it really started to boil.
Before this process, I whisked the egg whites and added sugar, but I used Turbinado sugar.
I slowly poured in the gooey mixture and then whisked so the eggs wouldn’t cook.
After whisking for two minutes, I took it off the heat and added my butter!
And it was delicious!
It was certainly creamy, warming from the spicies, and not too heavy. It was a little more sweet and buttery than I wanted, but honestly, not that much! I didn’t recoil after I drank it because it was not like I just drank a glass of butter!
I don’t think I’d drink an entire glass of it (unless I tweaked the amounts of butter and sugar, adding less of each) and I bet if I tried this with an ale or lighter beer I may even like it better!
And I also wonder what it would be like with egg yolks.
But there you have it. A better tasting Butterbeer than most of the sugar recipes out there. And these ingredients are very, very common (butter, beer, eggs, spices and sugar). With some tweaking of ingredients, I’m sure you can find a recipe that is delicious and completely non-offensive.
This is a great way to impress guests, warm their stomachs, and throw a more authentic Harry Potter party.
Pictures of the Harry Potter Christmas party, including a shot of the Butterbeer I served with Butterscotch Schnapps Whipped Cream (and crumbled graham cracker, but that wasn’t the best texture choice for the drink).