A Better Butterbeer Recipe With or Without Alcohol

Homemade Butterbeer From Harry Potter

The Spruce / S&C Design Studios

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Chill Time: 15 mins
Total: 30 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Yields: 4 to 6 drinks
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
221 Calories
23g Fat
2g Carbs
2g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 221
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 23g 30%
Saturated Fat 15g 75%
Cholesterol 72mg 24%
Sodium 143mg 6%
Total Carbohydrate 2g 1%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Protein 2g
Calcium 43mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Straight from the pages of "Harry Potter," butterbeer is the preferred drink of wizards everywhere. It's an utterly delicious drink of vanilla cream soda topped with a creamy batter of butterscotch and spices. There's no need to travel to "The Wizarding World" because butterbeer is easy and fun to make at home. Both wizards and muggles will realize why it's so popular after the first taste.

In an attempt to create the fictional drink J.K. Rowling vaguely describes in her books, you will find an endless array of butterbeer recipes. Some get rather elaborate and others are simple. This recipe uses common ingredients and there's no trickery involved. Similar to hot buttered rum, it begins with a rich batter made of butterscotch sauce and cream. The butter is added to ensure it isn't too sweet, while cinnamon and nutmeg provide a little more dimension. Give the batter a quick chill, then simply pour it over cream soda and enjoy!

Easily multiplied, the recipe makes enough batter for four to six drinks, and butterbeer can be served hot or cold. Keep it nonalcoholic or—because not all wizards are under 21—spike it with butterscotch schnapps, rum, vodka, or Irish whiskey. No matter how you make butterbeer, you're in for a real treat!

Ingredients

  • For the Batter:
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ​nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons butterscotch sauce
  • 1 tablespoon butter (softened)
  • For the Butterbeer:
  • 2 liters vanilla cream soda (or 6 [12-ounce] cans)

Steps to Make It

Note: While there are multiple steps to this recipe, the drink is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and assembly.

Make the Butterbeer Batter

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Butterbeer ingredients
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  2. In a small bowl, combine the cream, spices, butterscotch, and softened butter.

    Combine ingredients for Butterbeer batter
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  3. Whisk for 2 minutes to mix. Avoid whipping it so long that it becomes whipped cream, but it should thicken and increase in volume slightly.

    Whisk Butterbeer ingredients
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  4. Place the bowl in the freezer for 15 minutes to give it a good chill. If not making butterbeer immediately, cover the bowl and store in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

    Chill Butterbeer ingredients
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Make the Butterbeer

  1. Fill a frosty glass about two-thirds full with cold vanilla cream soda.

    Fill frosty glass 2/3 with cream soda
     The Spruce
  2. Pour the chilled butterbeer batter over the back of a spoon and into the glass. It will naturally rise to the top and float on the soda. Make this layer as thick as you like, but go slow because it will grow fast.

    Pour chilled batter over spoon into cream soda
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  3. Serve it with a straw or drink it straight from the glass (and experience the foamy mustache).

    Finished Butterbeer
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  4. Enjoy!

Tips

  • Though it is best fresh, the batter can be refrigerated for up to 2 days in a well-sealed container.
  • You want a frosty mug or tall glass for cold butterbeer. For a quick chill, rinse each glass with cold water and place them in the coldest part of your freezer for at least 2 hours.

Make Hot Butterbeer

  • To make hot butterbeer, prepare the batter, then slowly heat up the batter and soda separately. Do this very gently so the cream doesn't curdle and the soda doesn't lose all of its carbonation.
  • You can also warm the soda and leave the batter chilled for a more accurate reflection of the book's drink. For a party, keep the soda warm in a slow cooker on the warm setting and add the batter to the glasses.
  • On the stovetop, warm both ingredients over low heat and stir the batter almost continuously. You do not want either ingredient to come to a boil, they just need to be warmed.
  • In the microwave, warm them in small increments. It should take less than 2 minutes for each ingredient.
  • Just as a frosty glass improves the cold butterbeer experience, a warm glass creates a better warm butterbeer. Use a heat-proof glass such as an Irish coffee glass or coffee mug. While you're warming the ingredients, fill the glass with very hot water. Discard the water before pouring the drink using the same method as the cold butterbeer.

Make Alcoholic Butterbeer

Spiking butterbeer adds to the warming effect described in "Harry Potter." If only adults will be drinking, you can substitute 2 ounces of butterscotch schnapps for the sauce and mix it right into the batter. Alternatively, add liquor directly into the glass along with the soda. A shot of rum is a favorite, though sweet whipped cream vodka is another good choice.

An even better option takes a hint from an old Irish drink that may have inspired Rowling's butterbeer in the first place. This beverage combined melted butter with beer, and Irish whiskey sometimes made it into the mix. The whiskey is an excellent addition to this butterbeer recipe because it contrasts the drink's sweetness and gives it a good, hearty background.

What Happens If the Cream Is Poured First?

For a proper butterbeer, it's critical that you pour the ingredients in order: soda then batter. If you pour the batter first, when the soda hits the cream, it will instantly foam up, fill the glass, and leave you with very little soda. It won't settle like the foam on beer or soda, either. Instead, you'll be left with something a root beer float with just a touch of soda underneath. All is not lost if you pour it out of order because the creamy, carbonated foam is delicious. Add a scoop of ice cream and turn the mishap into a surprise dessert!