Currently, I’m deep in the throws of a Harry Potter obsession. In the last week and a half, I’ve read and watched the first four parts of the series. I have a friend who had just finished rereading the series. And then another friend is reading them for the first time. As a result, my phone has been filled with excited text messages gushing about love and loss in Harry Potter. So you see, it wasn’t a joke when I said I’m currently deep in obsession. For that reason, on Harry’s birthday, I’m sharing a recipe for butterbeer. Happy birthday Harry!
I have been a Harry Potter fan since I was a kid. And it’s a story I continue to love. Adventure, good versus evil, love, friendship, struggle, and a magical world… what more do you need? It’s a story that is familiar and relatable, while simultaneously transporting you to another world. As I read my way through the series yet again, I enjoy it more and more.
Probably like many people my age, I grew up pre-ordering the books from my local bookstore, then avidly reading them nonstop. In high school, I skipped soccer practice to camp outside the movie theater with my friends in order to see the movie the day it came out. I even had a Harry Potter pillowcase! Then when I lived in London, I made sure to visit the Harry Potter studio.
Then, back in April of this year I was able to check something off my bucket list: visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios in Florida. Some friends of mine from London were going to be in Florida and they invited me to come along. I said yes, as long as I could go to Harry Potter. Long story short, that park is AMAZING.
If you ever have the chance to go, GO! It was amazing to walk down Diagon Alley, browse the shops in Hogsmeade, and ride the Hogwarts Express. I walked through the halls of Hogwarts and ate at the Leaky Cauldron. I even bought an interactive wand, where at designated spots I could cast spells and make water shoot out of fountains or set off fireworks in a display (like I am in the photo above). It was awesome to feel like, for one day, I wasn’t a muggle. I loved it so much, I still have my wand on my bedside table.
It was during lunch at the Leaky Cauldron that I tried butterbeer. I know Harry, Ron, and Hermione usually have it warm, but I was in Florida so I went for cold. It was delicious. Butterbeer has a sweet, creamy, butterscotch flavor that is slightly indulgent but not overpowering alongside my meal. It was so good, I had to try making it again at home.
Quickly, let me say that if you do go to Florida, also try the frozen butterbeer. When that first sip of frozen butterbeer hit my lips, I felt my whole body cool down and my face break out into a smile. It was the most refreshing, delightful, amazing treat.
This recipe for butterbeer is also crazy good. I’ll admit it’s not as good as at the park because it’s missing the magical ambiance and pure joy that goes along with feeling like you’re in Harry’s world. But it’s still really good.
The use of real butter and sugar in this gives it a very rich and luscious flavor you won’t find at Universal. For that reason though, I find this to me more of a dessert, than a beverage to go with food. If you’re feeling really indulgent, make this with the cream I’ve included in the recipe. The fluffy cream adds a great flavor and texture to the butterbeer, but it also makes it very sweet. Maybe even too sweet.
There’s cream soda in this recipe and it will naturally create a foam, which I like a lot. That foam gave me the light fluffy texture I wanted, so I don’t think you strictly need whipped cream. However, sometimes a little extra sweetness can be nice. I say try it both ways and see what you prefer. What I absolutely recommend is making a batch of this to share with your favorite Harry Potter fan. Then cozy up on the sofa and watch your favorite Harry Potter movie. Or maybe all of them in a row.
For those of you who love Harry Potter, you understand my long held love and renewed obsession. For those who aren’t fans, you might think, really Mariel? You still love Harry Potter? After all this time? Always.
Adapted from Wizarding World Park.
- 1 cup/ 200 grams light or dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 6 tablespoons/ 84 grams butter
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cider vinegar
- ¼ cup/ 60 ml heavy cream
- ½ teaspoon rum extract
- Four 12-ounce/355 ml bottles cream soda
- ½ cup/ 120 ml heavy cream (optional, if you want to make whipped cream)
- In a small pan over medium, stir the brown sugar and water together.
- Bring to a boil and cook, stirring often, until the mixture reads 240°F/115°C on a candy thermometer.
- Remove from heat. Add the butter, salt, vinegar and ¼ cup heavy cream to the brown sugar mixture.
- Set aside to cool to room temperature. This is important because if you move ahead while it's warm you'll end up with crystallized sugar in your final product.
- Once the mixture has cooled, stir in the rum extract.
- If you'd like to make whipped cream: In a medium bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of the brown sugar mixture and ½ cup of heavy cream. Use an immersion blender or an electric mixer to beat until just thickened. You want it thick enough that it holds it shape, but not so thick that it is solid and is undrinkable.
- To serve, divide the brown sugar mixture between 4 tall glasses. Fill the cup ½ way with cream soda. Stir to combine the brown sugar mix and the soda.
- Fill each glass with the rest of the cream soda.
- Spoon whipped cream on top if using.