Pumpkin juice, chocolate frogs, Bertie Botts’s every flavour beans, cauldron cakes, fizzing whizbees… So many wonderful things, but it was always butterbeer that I wanted to try the most! You can imagine my excitement when I found out that butterbeer, approved by JK Rowling herself, was going to be served at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Islands of Adventure in Orlando. I always thought that the taste of butterbeer would be something confined to my imagination.
I live in Tasmania, Australia, which I can tell you is NOWHERE near Orlando. Not even close. But only a few months after the Wizarding World of Harry Potter opening, I was super dooper lucky enough to be able to travel over to the US for a holiday with my family and have a drink of butterbeer in The Three Broomsticks…ON MY BIRTHDAY!
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is nothing short of amazing. We all loved it so much…it really was like stepping into another world. Hands down, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is the best ride that I have EVER been on. Now, I have been on my fair share of theme park rides (give me a rollercoaster, and I’ll go on it), but this ride was something else. Completely different to ANYTHING that I have been on before. I’m not going to spoil anything by revealing anymore, but just promise that if you are ever at Islands of Adventure, make sure you go on this ride!
Hogwarts Castle, home of Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
Inside The Three Broomsticks
Now, back to the butterbeer! It was just as I had imagined it would be, but better at the same time. It tasted like a shortbreadish buttery creamy soda…very sweet, but oh so yummy! And even though it is served cold at WWOHP, it somehow left me feeling all warm and fuzzy inside. Just one slight warning though. Make sure you don’t drink it too quickly…I suffered from a case of butterbeer head freeze!
You can order your butterbeer in super cute souvenir mugs to take home with you…uh, yes please! I came back home to Australia a very happy chappy, and couldn’t wait to tell all of my Harry-loving friends about what butterbeer really tastes like.
Nearly two years on from our wonderful experiences at the WWOHP, I decided that it was finally time to try and make my own butterbeer. A few times I have looked through the lots of different recipes for butterbeer that have been popping up on the internet, but to be honest, I was always a bit skeptical. Most of them seemed really involved (including melting and boiling?!), and I just wasn’t convinced. Although I’m sure that most of the recipes would make a lovely sweet drink, I wanted to recreate something that tasted exactly what I had that day in The Three Broomsticks. When I came across the recipe for Homemade Butterbeer on Bakingdom, I knew this was the recipe that I wanted to use. As Darla (so close to Carla!) at Bakingdom had been to the WWOHP to have butterbeer, I trusted that she knew what she was talking about when she said it tasted like what she could remember having at the park!
The two ingredients needed for the main part of the drink are cream soda and imitation butter flavour. I had never even HEARD of imitation butter flavour before (it seems like such an American ingredient to me!), so thought it would be difficult to find, but knew that I would be able to buy some cream soda without any worries. I have a favourite that my Grandpa buys for me all the time, Schweppes Traditional Brown Cream Soda. I found a No-Colour Butter Flavour by Wilton at Spotlight in the Cake Decorating section for $5.95 (it should be available at most stores that sell Wilton flavour products). But do you think I could find any cream soda? There seemed to be a worldwide shortage! *okay, maybe a slight exaggeration here* We couldn’t find any at our local supermarket, service station or small grocery store. Usually, we would have some in the pantry, but of course there wasn’t any in there either! A couple of days later, it was back in stock…so project butteerbeer was back on!
At the WWOHP, butterbeer can be purchased either in regular form, or frozen! My personal favourite is the frozen butterbeer (for some reason, it doesn’t take quite as sickly), so this is exactly how I wanted to have it at home. A couple of years ago for Christmas, I got the Sunbeam Slush Magic, so having this made making the frozen version super easy. But, if you don’t have access to a slushie maker, have no fear! It’s easy peeeeesy if you have a freezer and a deep container.
Recipe adapted from Bakingdom
For the butterbeer
1.25 L bottle of Schweppes Traditional Brown Cream Soda
3 tsp no-colour butter flavour
1. In a large bowl, mix the no-colour butter flavour with the creamy soda.
2. If using a slushie maker, place the liquid into the machine and follow the instructions to make a slushie as normal. If you don’t have a slushie maker, bake me away! suggests the following for freezing your butterbeer: Pour the soda (mixed with butter flavour) into a large shallow container. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes. If the soda has started to freeze around the edges, break up and rake the frozen bits to the center with a fork. Put the container back in the freezer for another 30 minutes. Keep repeating this process (it’s just like making a granita!) until the soda is very slushy. This process took about 3 hours starting with room temperature soda, but could take less if your soda is chilled and if you have a colder freezer.
For the foam
2 C thickened cream
6 tsp caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla essence
2 tsp no-colour butter flavour
1. In a large bowl, whip the cream, sugar, essence and flavour on a medium-high speed until soft peaks form.
2. To serve, pour butterbeer evenly into cups and carefully place the foam on top.
Recipes yields five small sized serves.
Sooooo…time for the verdict. Did it taste just like the butterbeer that I tried at the WWOHP? It sure did! My mum, dad and two brothers happily jumped on board as fellow taste testers, and they all agreed. I must say, 5/5 is a pretty good rate! I was so excited to have had success with the first recipe that I tried. And you know how tastes can bring back memories, this did just that…lots of wonderful memories!
If you are unable to make it to Orlando to visit the WWOHP (I still really can’t believe that I have been there!), and really want to experience butterbeer, try out this recipe. It won’t disappoint!
Carla Sue xo
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