Friday, June 17, 2016

Butterbeer Inspired by J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Ever since I read Harry Potter, I’ve wanted to go to Hogwarts.

Of course, I’d resigned myself to the fact that that wasn’t going to happen for a long time. I never got my letter, though we all know that’s not due to my lack of magicalness. Voldemort was in power during the 90’s, so a lot of muggle born records were destroyed, which explains my lack of letter: They don't have my address. I have yet to stumble upon a portkey that will take me to Hogwarts and Amazon does not sell working floo powder (huge mistake, guys).

But then something awesome happened. Universal Studios Hollywood opened up Harry Potter World. I finally got to go to Hogwarts!

It was amazing. The castle was magnificent, Hogsmead rocked, and the Forbidden Journey was one of the best rides I’ve ever been one (Note: If you want to hear more about the Harry Potter World in Hollywood, my review is coming soon to Constant Collectible. Stay tuned!).

But that’s all secondary. I’m sure you all have one question you need answered: How was the butterbeer?


I took note of the flavor and went home to try to make my own. After all, my book of the month is Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the first book that Butterbeer makes an appearance in.
For those of you deprived muggles who have not read The Prisoner of Azkaban or perhaps have forgotten it’s storyline, here’s a quick overview:

For twelve long years, the dread fortress of Azkaban held an infamous prisoner named Sirius Black. Convicted of killing thirteen people with a single curse, he was said to be the heir apparent to the Dark Lord, Voldemort.

Now he has escaped, leaving only two clues as to where he might be headed: Harry Potter's defeat of You-Know-Who was Black's downfall as well. And the dementors heard Black muttering in his sleep, "He's at Hogwarts...he's at Hogwarts."

Harry Potter isn't safe, not even within the walls of his magical school, surrounded by his friends. Because on top of it all, there may well be a traitor in their midst.

I like this book for a lot of reasons: the Marauder’s Map, the awesomeness of Hippogriffs, the quidditch matches, and the mention of Butterbeer.

But I like it for more sirius reasons, too (sorry, horrible Harry Potter joke. I’ll do better, I promise). I love Lupin’s quiet strength and bravery in the face of a difficult ailment, Rowling’s advice as to how to fend of Dementors has helped me a lot, and Ron’s “Don’t let the muggle get you down” will forever be a mantra of mine. I’m in awe of Rowling’s ability to create a story that is both fantastical and down-to-earth.

So, in honor of this book and Rowling’s brilliance, I’d like to share a recipe for Butterbeer with you.

It is made in three parts: first, a butterscotch syrup must be brewed, then cream soda must be conjured, then some whipped cream summoned. Here we go:
Butterscotch syrup:

Ingredients - 
  • 1/2 cup of packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup of heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon (traditionally, butterscotch doesn't have cinnamon, but I added it to this one because I thought it would help give the Butterbeer the "warm" feel described in the books. Also, cinnamon rules.) 
  • 1/2 teaspoon of himalayan salt (or sea salt) 
Directions - 

1. Solemnly swear that you are up to no good. This is an essential step. Do NOT skip it.

2. Melt the butter in a saucepan on medium heat. In a bowl, combine the cinnamon, brown sugar, and salt. You'll want to have your vanilla all measured out and ready to go. You'll also want to procure a stickiness-repellant wand or a rubber spatula to stir. I used a spatula after Umbridge's own heart: 
3. Once the butter is melted, add the brown sugar mixture to the pan. Once the mixture is wet, add the heavy cream. Stir until combined. Bring to a boil, scraping sides and bottom of the pan occasionally. Allow to boil for 4 to 5 minutes. Once it begins to thicken, remove from heat. 
4. Add vanilla extract, then transfer to a container to cool (I used a mason jar). The syrup will thicken considerably while cooling.

This stuff is delicious. I would have eaten it all if it hadn't been necessary for the rest of the recipe. Snape thought that it was a poison hexed to make people want to eat it, but soon came around. 
Cream soda: 

I attempted to make this from scratch, but failed miserably. I'm not sure why. I suspect the nargles. Being a highly-intelligent Ravenclaw, I quickly came up with a solution: Go to the store and buy ready-made cream soda. I recommend getting an all-natural kind, since those tend to have less sugar. I used Virgil's and liked the way it turned out.

Whipped cream: 

Ingredients - 
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons of butterscotch syrup 
  • Sugar to taste (optional)
Directions - 

1. In a chilled bowl, whip together the heavy cream, butterscotch syrup, and sugar (if wanted). Whip until stiff peaks form. 
2. Try not to fling cream all over the counter while beating it. I may have failed this step. 

Assemble Butterbeer: 

1. In a small bowl, pour one bottle (12 oz) of cream soda. Gently whisk in 2 teaspoons of butterscotch syrup. Over-wisk and you'll lose the fizziness. 
2. Pour this concoction into a mug and top with the whipped cream. 
Mischief managed! You now have Butterbeer that tastes glorious and is very similar to the one at Universal Studios, though not quite so sweet. 
Even Snape thought it was good.
It tastes of sunshine and Harry Potter books. In fact, drinking Butterbeer fills a person with so much happiness that I don't think even Dementors would be able to suck it all away. It's basically Dementor repellant. 


  1. Ahhhh!! Ever since I experienced Happy Potter's awesomeness earlier this year, I've wanted to try Butterbeer. And now I desperately want to go to Harry Potter World. I must make some of this delightful deliciousness sometime soon... (Thanks in advance for making me fat, Hannah! Lol!) <3

    1. Lol! You are most welcome. Anytime. Also: You would love Harry Potter World. It's like a dream come true. =D

  2. Yeeeees, can't wait to try this! It looks siriusly awesome! I have yet to visit HP World but it's on my list (I think I'll wait till Star Wars World is done and conquer them both.)

    1. It is siriusly awesome. People who don't like butterbeer have something ron with them. *high fives you for being a fan of bad HP puns*

      Your Star Wars and Harry Potter plans are perfect. That will be a week long remembered. =) Thanks for the comment, Kate!

  3. What a fantastic idea Hannah. This is awesome!

  4. I always love your book review recipes, Hannah, but I think this might be my favorite one yet. I've always wanted to taste butterbeer and now I can without even having to travel to California which I have neither the time nor the money to do. I'm thinking of doing a blog post about how to use food in fiction, so thanks for the inspiration. Also, could you do a review of "The Fellowship of the Ring" with a mushroom recipe?

    1. I'm so looking forward to you doing a post about food in fiction. Awesome idea! If you ever do get a chance to come to California, ring me up. I can show you all of the nerd spots. =D

      Hmmm. Mushrooms, huh? Yes, I think I can make that happen. In fact, ever since I read the book when I was little I've been wondering about what way Hobbits like their mushrooms. =) Can't wait to give it a shot!

  5. Just shared. I think the people have a right to get themselves so magically drunk... =)

    1. Lol! I would be inclined to agree with you, Peter. Thanks for sharing!

  6. You are such an amazing human being, Hannah!!! :D This post reads just like you say the butterbeer tastes - pure sunshine! I will try the recipe for sure - thank you so much. Hugs, hugs, hugs <3

    1. Ramona, your comments are always so sweet. Thanks for putting a huge smile on my face! Hope you enjoy the recipe! *hugs back*


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