After visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter last week, I couldn’t stop thinking about the blended butterbeer that I had inside the park. Non-alcoholic butterbeer is available in a soda form and as a blended drink. Both options are topped with a foamy, beer-like “head” that tastes a bit like marshmallow fluff and both taste like butterscotch, with the soda option being lightly carbonated and the blended option being a bit less sweet and more refreshing. They’re delicious and, since I definitely I wouldn’t mind enjoying one at home on a hot day, I decided to recreate the Wizarding World’s Blended Butterbeer myself.
I’ve seen lots of recipes claiming to be copycats online, but most of them don’t produce results that are similar to what you get in the park. Recipes that use a lot of butter or cream leave your mouth with a dairy coating that you definitely don’t get from the version at the park. Recipes that use a lot of artificial butter flavoring don’t hit the mark either (the in-park drink tastes like vanilla and butterscotch, not just butter). And while there are some tasty recipes that call for butter pecan ice cream, those are basically milkshakes and not butterbeer.
Unless you have your own Slurpee-style drink maker – which is what they are using to dispense the drink at Universal – in your kitchen, this recipe is pretty close to what you’re going to get in the park and it is very easy to make, too. My recipe uses a brown sugar syrup, vanilla cream soda and ice – and that is it. Butterscotch is basically a brown sugar flavored caramel sauce. If I were making an ice cream topping, I would add butter, but butter adds texture that I don’t want in a cold beverage so I didn’t use any here. The brown sugar syrup adds a molasses note to the vanilla cream soda, creating a butterscotch base for the drink. The syrup also serves to sweeten the whole thing up, as very cold foods and drinks always taste less sweet than their room-temperature counterparts do. You might find you need to add a little extra syrup to your butterbeer, as some cream sodas are sweeter than others. I used Boylan’s, but there are many good brands out there. I would not use a diet cream soda in this recipe, as it could add an unpleasant aftertaste to the finished drink.
I experimented with a few topping options for my butterbeer. Marshmallow creme was too sticky and firmed up when cold, though it was similar in flavor to the topping from the park. Softly whipped heavy cream tasted ok, but it didn’t have the marshmallow-y flavor that the drink at the park did. I ended up using Cool Whip, which did a surprisingly good job and came close to the flavor and feel that the butterbeer at the park had. That said, the drink is good without any topping, too, so feel free to leave it off and enjoy your blended butterbeer as-is!
Easy Homemade Blended Butterbeer
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tbsp water
8 oz vanilla cream soda, chilled
2 cups ice
whipped cream or Cool Whip (optional)
In a small microwave-safe mixing bowl, combine brown sugar and water and heat until water is hot and sugar is completely dissolved. Set aside to cool slightly.
In your blender, combine vanilla cream soda with brown sugar syrup. Add ice and blend until very smooth (use the smoothie setting if your blender has one!). Top with Cool Whip or whipped cream, if desired.