The Best Hot Butterbeer Recipe

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When I was about 19 and in college, my mom and I were chatting on the phone one day when she told me about this amazing book she had been reading called Harry Potter.  “It’s a children’s novel, but you would enjoy it.  I like it!” She sent me a copy.  Amused at the whimsy of an adult woman sending her adult child a children’s novel, I opened the pages with high expectations.  I was not disappointed.

Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.

That’s got to be one of the best opening lines of a novel ever written.  In just one sentence, we know all we really need to know about the Dursleys. The rest of the book just got better.  I was hooked!  My roommate was intrigued by my reading and soon, we were reading aloud to each other every chance we got.  We plowed through the first two or three novels and pre-purchased the fourth book on new-fangled Amazon.

College kids who loved Harry Potter was a rarity back then.  When the first of the films came out, we were in line for the first showing with several other movie-goers whose heads barely reached our shoulders.  I remember, I wore a blue and gold jersey emblazoned with the word “Quidditch” that I bought in the boys’ department at Sears.  Back then, we didn’t have the Daniel Radcliff and the rest to show us the world of Rowling’s imagination.  We had only her words, and they took us away on a magical journey filled with new sights, sounds and tastes!

There were so many flavors we had never experienced yet somehow we almost remembered them, a vague familiarity and some universal understanding told us exactly what that tasted like.

No taste was as familiar yet foreign as Butterbeer.

What has become the signature drink of the Harry Potter world, was introduced to us in the third book, in a rather innocuous way:

Ron came back five minutes later, carrying three foaming tankards of hot butterbeer.

“Merry Christmas!” he said happily, raising his tankard.

Harry drank deeply.  It was the most delicious thing he’d ever tasted and seemed to heat every bit of him from the inside.

That’s it.  No description of the flavor, the level of sweetness, the undertones, the fragrance…

Yet it buried itself deep in our brains and wouldn’t leave.  Butterbeer? Yes, I know it.  Remind me, what does it taste like?

The Search for Butterbeer

Last year, on my daughter’s 11th birthday, we held a Harry Potter themed party, naturally.  I scoured the internet for a suitable Butterbeer recipe.

The basic concept was this:  Cream soda, butter flavoring, whipped cream topping.

Guys, that is just NOT going to cut it.

In their defense, butterbeer is served cold in bottles and hot in tankards.  I think that would fit the cold variety, but not the hot.

It needed to be rich, complex, delicious, warming, and magical.

So I set out to create the perfect, hot butterbeer.

I gave thought to the types of flavors and aromas I expected in The Three Broomsticks.

I imagined what sort of flavors would be warming to “heat every bit” of you inside out. The first thing that came to mind was alcohol.  Butterbeer most likely has a bit of alcohol in it.  I’m not much of a drinker, and I know the target audience of Harry Potter is not so I chose to make this a non-alcoholic butterbeer, safe for your tiny tots.

I tried SIX different concoctions before I settled on one that was delicious and easy to replicate.

Since this is a creation of my imagination–inspired by the imagination of an author–it may not fit your imagined butterbeer.  I encourage you to play around with the flavors until you find something that hits it right on the nose for you.

Be sure to check out all my other recipes inspired by the Wizarding World: 
What to Serve at Your Harry Potter Feast
House Cup Chicken
Easy Pumpkin Pasties

TOP RECIPE! Top post on my site for over 2 years. This butterbeer recipe is truly out of this world. It's unlike any other out there. Not too sweet, a complex flavor, truly magical. It's worth the effort!
TOP RECIPE! Top post on my site for over 2 years. This butterbeer recipe is truly out of this world. It's unlike any other out there. Not too sweet, a complex flavor, truly magical. It's worth the effort!

The Best Hot Butterbeer Recipe

To begin, melt 2 Tablespoons of butter with 1/4 C brown sugar and 1 Tablespoon of maple syrup in a large pot or sauce pan.  Boil for two minutes.

Add:

  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Stir in 1/2 C milk or half and half if you’re feeling decadent.

Whisk to combine

In another small bowl, whisk together:

Add the pudding mixture to the milk mixture,  say the magic words, *swish and flick* and there you have it: butterbeer.

Heat to almost boiling. Serve in small mugs as this is a rich and sweet beverage.

PIN THIS RECIPE NOW FOR LATER.

Whipped Topping

To Top or Not to Top…

Personally, I didn’t think it needed a topping.  If anything, I would love to work out a whipped egg foam, but that’s getting awfully complicated.

But, my daughter requested whipped topping, so I obliged.

Beat 1/2 C cold heavy cream until foam begins to form.  Add a sprinkle of cinnamon and a dash of ginger.  Once the whipped cream has a little body to it, add a small drizzle (2 teaspoons maybe) of maple syrup.

Make it your own!

If you find it not sweet enough, add another Tablespoon of maple syrup.

For grown ups, you could add a bit of brandy to really bring out the flavors.  In the book, the drink does seem to have a slight alcoholic quality.  Children do not appear to be affected by it, but house elves are.

Looking for more magical recipes? Check out: 
What to serve at your Hogwarts-Inspired Feast
Straight-off the Hogwarts Express: Pumpkin Pasties
House Cup Chicken 

I would love to know what you think! What are the flavors of magic and warmth to you? Does this hit close to home in your memory of an imagined brew?

Would you like me to work up a recipe for a cold version of this new classic?

Felix Felicitus and ever-loyal friends, 
Stina

 

41 comments
  1. Awesome! And yum! I can’t wait to experiment with it. I especially like the idea of it being hot. Could be because it is cold right now. ha!

    Thanks for participating in the blog hop!!

  2. As you know, because I raised you, I don’t offer faint or false praise because I believe honest praise should be given often and is more valuable to the recipient. So here’s some honesty: I’m amazed at your abilities. Can’t wait for you to make this for all of us to try. It sounds perfectly wonderful. And I loved your story. I’d forgotten you were a Harry Potter fan before there was much of a following.

  3. That was amazing! It was not like the Hot Butterbeer from the Universal parks, but I actually found the flavor more interesting.

    1. Oh! Thank you! I actually haven’t had the opportunity to go to the parks and try theirs so it’s just my imagination and my kitchen. 😊😊

    1. Thank You, Molly! Sorry for the late reply. I found your comment in my spam catcher. 🙁

      I’m glad you’re liking the new format!

  4. We are facing a blizzard tomorrow and so I have these ingredients on hand for our first taste of Butterbeer. Thank you, we can hardly wait!

    1. Ooh! A blizzard! As a Texan, that sounds very scary to me. LOL I hope you enjoy it! Let me know what you think!

  5. That sounds amazing. I’d love to try making it. Are there scratch ingredients I could use to substitute the butterscotch pudding mix? I dislike processed anything and shop almost exclusively at a farmers market, so even getting the stuff would prove pesky.

    1. Hey Melinda! I’ve never done that, but I think you certainly could! I would just be sure to stir it before you serve a cup in case some of the spices settle on the bottom of the Crock-Pot.

  6. oh my! i am looking forward to trying this! Do you think chili instead of cayenne would be good as well? In Sweden they have cider for children with a little alcohol. So I think a little alcohol could fit in this as well. As you say, strong for house elves 😀 thank you. Everything you have written is what I tell my friends as well. Got one butter beer before but the people who ,are it wasn’t a crazy fan like me so it tasted more like water. Thank you again for sharing. Love Nille from up in Norway.

    1. I would definitely NOT use Chili powder. It’s got other spices in it like garlic powder that would really throw off the flavor. The cayenne doesn’t add much flavor at all just a mild after burn in the back of the throat. It could be omitted if you don’t have any.

  7. Delish! I am “testing” before I make it for the kids. A little spiced rum worked better than brandy for me. I will also back off on the cardamom for the kids but love the dash of cayenne. I was asks disappointed with other recipes but this is spot on meeting my imagination as well.

  8. Thanks a lot for your recipe!
    I had to substitute a bit because things like Jell-O and caramel aroma don’t really exist in Germany, but the end result was very yummy. I do think, though, that a simpler version just using hot milk, a bit of caramel pudding powder and some caramel sauce plus spices would probably work just as well, as the taste was mostly caramel+spices (which was yummy, so no complaint!). That should give a very similar flavour to what I had in the end, with less effort.
    I also totally recommend adding a bit of lemon peel or lemon aroma, and a few drops of rum aroma if not adding alcohol.

    Anyway, it was delicious and loved by everyone at our Hogwarts party, so thanks a lot! 🙂

  9. Just wanted to say that I’m making this right now for about the 5th time this month! Every time someone new visits I make it and man is it awesome. This is by far the best and most interesting butterbeer recipe I’ve tried. I add a little butterscotch schnapps if I want something sweeter. I’ll be making this for the school I work at for our holiday party and I’m sure it’ll be a big hit. Thank you!!

  10. I made this for an HP event and it was amazing! Question- do you think this could be made ahead of time, refrigerated, and warmed up the following day?

  11. Thank you! This is really tasty – hot spicy butterscotch. Instead of making it all at once, we combine everything except the water to make a thick mix. The mix is at room temperature and when someone wants a hot drink, put 3-4 spoonfuls in a mug, fill it with boiling water and stir.

  12. In anticipation of creating our own wizarding feast, I tried out you recipe and have to say, it was amazing. Even my fussy eater enjoyed it, despite the ginger and cardamom spice, which he normally can’t stand. It is a hit in our house and we might even make some for fun on cold winter nights.

  13. Love this! Cant wait to try it! If you’re having it at a party what do you think it is best to serve in / keep it hot?

    Kaitlin

  14. Thank you for posting an alternative to the disgustingly sweet cream soda versions! I knew it wasn’t going to cut it for me either and though I’d have to reinvent it. Your recipe will give me a great starting place. My kids are reading the books for the first time, so we wanted to have our own feast and definitely include butterbeer!

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