Note: This recipe is part of our Harry Potter-themed celebration.
Oh, man. This took a while.
How do you replicate a drink that’s very well-known and well-loved but (probably) isn’t REAL?
Everyone familiar with J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series can tell you about Butterbeer. It’s butterscotchy. Served warm or cold. Slightly alcoholic, but only house-elfs seem to be able to drink enough of it to get trashed.
There are plenty of recipes out there, but most of them are attempting to match the taste of the frosty Butterbeer served at the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park. People have used cream soda, butterscotch sundae topping, Werther’s candies, apple cider, coffee creamer, butter extract, sweetened condensed milk …
It’s crazy. It’s crazy-making.
So, let’s rethink this. And create an adults-only version.
In my mind, Butterbeer must contain beer. And have a buttery finish.
It should remind you of butterscotch but have a salty edge to balance the sweetness.
I made some nasty first batches of Butterbeer.
But then I came across a recipe that Heston Blumenthal created a few years ago for a Tudor-inspired drink called “Butter beer.”
It had nothing to do with Harry Potter, but his recipe involved warming beer on the stove and adding butter and sugar and spices. It was the inspiration I needed to take things in a different direction.
But I wanted my Butterbeer to be creamy, too.
I was talking it out with my mom, who swears she’s not creative but has kickass ideas all the time, and she mentioned eggnog. Then my sister tossed butterscotch schnapps into the ring. And the corner pieces of the puzzle were on the table.
There are two components to this Butterbeer: a beer mixture and a butterscotch cream mixture.
The beer mixture is simply a bottle of beer (I used the Hefeweizen made at Yazoo Brewing Company here in Nashville) warmed on the stove with light brown sugar, butter and a pinch of salt.
The butterscotch cream is basically a cooked eggnog (minus the egg whites) with ginger, nutmeg and cloves and a liberal 6 ounces of butterscotch schnapps.
Pour the sweet-and-salty butterscotch-flavored beer into a small glass, and add as much butterscotch cream as you like. (You can even froth the cream first with a whisk or immersion blender to get a nice foamy head on your Butterbeer.)
And, YES, you can serve it warm or cold.
(I tried it both ways. For the good of the land.)
Please drink responsibly. Not like a snockered house-elf.
Butterbeer (Alcoholic Version)
Rebecca Crump (EzraPoundCake.com)
Butterscotch Cream Mixture:
- 4 egg yolks
- 1/3 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
- 1 pint (2 cups) whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 6 ounces (3/4 cup) butterscotch schnapps
- 1 tablespoon bourbon or rum (optional)
- 1 bottle of beer (I used Yazoo Hefeweizen.)
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- Kosher salt
- For the Butterscotch Cream Mixture: In a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer), beat the egg yolks until they lighten in color.
- Gradually add the 1/3 cup sugar, and continue to beat until it is completely dissolved. Set aside.
- In a saucepan over medium-high heat, stir the milk, cream and spices, and bring just to a boil, stirring occasionally.
- Remove the pan from the heat, and gradually add small amounts of the hot mixture into the egg and sugar mixture, whisking the entire time.
- Pour everything back into the pot, and heat until the mixture reaches 160 degrees F. Remove from the heat, and stir in the butterscotch schnapps and bourbon or rum (if using).
- Pour the butterscotch cream mixture into a bowl, cover, and chill in the refrigerator.
- For the Beer Mixture: In a saucepan over medium-high heat, warm the beer. Add the sugar, and whisk until the sugar dissolves. Add the butter, and whisk until it melts. Whisk in a pinch of salt, and remove from the heat.
- To Serve Warm: Pour the warm beer mixture into glasses. Set aside. Whisk your butterscotch cream mixture (or froth it with an immersion blender), add a small amount to the glass, and stir. Serve immediately.
- To Serve Cold: Let the warm beer mixture cool to room temperature. Set aside. Whisk your butterscotch cream mixture (or froth it with an immersion blender), add it to the glass, and stir. Serve immediately. (If you’ve been storing the beer mixture in the fridge, it will have a layer of butter and sugar collected on its surface, so you’ll need to warm it over low heat before adding it to the cold butterscotch cream.)