UPDATE: I’ve tweaked this recipe based on more research done at Universal. Be sure to take a look at our updated Butterbeer recipe to see the new ingredient!
I’ve been a huge Harry Potter fan since the second book came out and my husband brought it home on the recommendation of a co-worker. I stayed up until the wee hours in the morning with my eyes bugged out so I could finish reading the first and second books. Yes, this was before our kids were in the picture. My husband and I stood in line for all of the rest of the book releases and even named our horses after characters in the book — Dumbledore, Hermione, and Hagrid.
So we were very excited when we had the opportunity this summer to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios. We stood in line forever in the sunscreen-melting heat to get inside. We were not alone, either. See the throngs of fans crowded into the streets of Hogsmeade? We had a great time exploring the Three Broomsticks, Hogwarts, Honeydukes and the train station.
As fun as it was that day, it was also hot. VERY hot. One of our favorite things turned out to be the mugs of cold Butterbeer (a popular drink in the book) that could be had in souvenir mugs for a small fortune. But we paid that fortune, over and over again, just to get more of this delicious and refreshing drink. They did a fantastic job of coming up with a recipe that tastes just like you would imagine it would. Here’s a couple of pictures of the Butterbeer truck at the park. They served the drink two ways — frozen or regular — and despite the name, they were not beer at all, but a delicious, non-alcoholic drink with what we thought was a cream soda base.
On that hot afternoon, I preferred the frozen version (a slushie consistency) but I liked the regular drink a little bit better overall. Here’s our friend, Scot enjoying his third (or perhaps fifth?) Butterbeer. They were so addicting!
The mugs were really cute as well. We drank so much we had plenty to give away to friends and family and felt a little silly lugging around the giant bag of them. However, Scot said he much prefers drinking out of a glass than a plastic mug. He looked in the shops for a glass version of the Butterbeer mug but couldn’t find one. This seems like a huge marketing oversight by Universal. Hmmm… perhaps I could make one to go with the Butterbeer recipe that I knew I just HAD to duplicate at home!
But how would I make the mug? First, I had Chica create a Butterbeer logo for me. Then we got some stencils made with the logo, so we could etch the design onto glass mugs. Glass etching is really easy, and I’ll show you how I did it, and I’ll even share our Butterbeer recipe so you can make your own at home. You will love it!
I picked out some really pretty glass mugs that I wanted to use, making sure that were big enough for my stencil, which measures about 4″ x 2-3/4″.
Start by thoroughly cleaning your mugs with rubbing alcohol. Then decide which side of the mug you would like the stencil to appear. Chica and I actually had a rather lengthy discussion about this. She wanted the stencil to be placed so that the words would face you when you were drinking the Butterbeer. I wanted to place it so the words were facing outwards as I drank the Butterbeer. We thought about doing it on both sides but thought it might look funny. However, one of our readers sent us a picture of having it on both sides and it turned out great. Our solution, at the time, was to do one each way so that we both won. There is no right choice here, just personal preference.
Now VERY carefully remove the white backing from your stencil. If any blue sticks to the white, press it together again and peel more slowly, until it all comes off and you are left with a blue stencil in one hand and a clean piece of white paper in the other.
Carefully position your stencil where you want it over your mug. Once it starts to stick down, it is REALLY hard to move. I mean it’s pretty much impossible, so don’t do like I did and not realize how close you are to the mug before it is too late! Lesson learned. After you have it positioned, gently press it down, smoothing out all the air bubbles and wrinkles. With a stencil this small, I could just use my fingertips for this process, but you mind want to use a stiff card or bone folder to help you.
When the stencil is smooth, remove the clear layer of transfer tape from the top of the stencil, making sure all the blue sticks to your mug this time. Now is the time for the etching cream. Follow the instructions on the back of your cream, since they can vary from brand to brand. My version said to apply a thick layer of cream and then wait for 3 minutes.
Once the allotted time has passed, rinse the cream off with hot water. Remove the blue sticky stencil. We used a small knife to get the tiny parts off the glass.
Glass etching always turns out way cooler than I think it will. I am so pleased with the design and the stencil quality, and therefore with the end result! This mug is just begging to be filled with some Butterbeer now!
But wait, there’s more! We had some new stencils made after that first mug, and these came with all the cut pieces still in place, so you can easily peel away the ones you want to create positive or negative designs.
Huh? What? Well, take a look at the two pictures below to see what I mean.
See how the mug on the left has the letters peeled away and the area surrounding it still masked with the stencil? By contrast, the one on the right has the letters still there, and the area around them peeled away. These will give you two totally different end results because the etching cream will be exposed to different areas.
It’s easy to do, too. Just put the whole stencil in place, then use an X-ACTO knife to peel away the parts you want to etch.
PSST: Want some stencils? We have a limited number of the WHITE (not blue) Butterbeer stencils available for sale. You’ll find them listed in our Etsy store. To inquire about larger quantities or for more info, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We really like the look of the design with the clear letters and the area around them etched.
For those of you who might like the idea of a Butterbeer mug but don’t want to mess around with stencils and etching, we have an alternative for you. We’re put our Butterbeer design on mugs (and shirts and more) at Zazzle, where you can purchase your own and save the crafting for another day.
Now that you’ve got the mugs, it’s time to move on to the best part… the recipe!
The ingredients are simple. You will need the following to make two drinks:
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 tbsp powdered sugar
- 24 oz of your favorite cream soda
- 2 tsp vanilla butter nut flavoring
Start by measuring your heavy whipping cream into a bowl.
Next, add your powdered sugar. Begin to whisk briskly.
I quickly tired of whisking briskly and asked Chica if she had a container I could shake it in. She had this perfect little squeeze bottle that allowed me to quickly shake to the right consistency and then dispense the cream onto the top of my drink. What is the right consistency? Good question. You want it to thicken slightly, but still be loose. I shook this until when I squirted a little out of the bottle, it stayed in a nice circle on my finger tip. It only takes 10-20 seconds of vigorous shaking. You could also use a stand mixer or stick with the whisk and bowl if you need an arm workout.
Once your cream topping is ready, add your vanilla butter nut flavoring to your cream soda and stir gently so you don’t get rid of all the carbonation in the soda.
Pour your flavored cream soda into your Butterbeer mugs (if you made them) or into any chilled glass. Gently squirt on the whipping cream mixture so that it floats on top (or spoon it on if you don’t have a squirt bottle) in a layer about a half inch thick.
Trust us, it tastes even better than it looks! We would love to hear feedback from others who have tried the original Butterbeer at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Try our recipe and see how you think it compares!
NOTE: I did some more research on a recent trip to the parks and there is flavoring in the cream and very little flavor in the drink. I actually think our version of the soda tastes better than what they served at Universal but I did like their cream better. It even had a slightly bubbly consistency to it that I am currently working on reproducing. I will make sure and add tweaks to my recipe as soon as I can!
Oh, and if you’re looking for an alcoholic version of this drink, stir a couple tablespoons (to taste) of Dekuyper Butterscotch (a.k.a. Butterscotch Schnapps) in to the soda before you top it with cream. The result is fantastic!
In case you’re looking to share this recipe with others or put it in your recipe box, I made a nice downloadable recipe card for you.
BUTTERBEER GIFT BOX
If you’ve got a friend who is a huge Harry Potter fan, we think a Butterbeer set would make a great gift. You can easily fill a basket with a couple of mugs (made with our stencil and tutorial), a bottle of the special flavoring, a couple bottles of cream soda, and our recipe cards, printed onto white cardstock (and maybe even laminated).
In fact, we assembled just such a gift box to be used as a door prize for a private screening of the new Harry Potter movie in L.A. Don’t you love how it looks packaged in a decorative trunk? I know quite a few people who will get one of these for Christmas!
And, if you are wanting to throw a party and serve lots of Butterbeer, consider making your own barrel!
UPDATE: Hot Butterbeer recipe
But wait! Are you like many Harry Potter fans who think that Butterbeer should be served warm? Then check out the hot Butterbeer recipe that we developed. It’s so yummy we can hardly resist it. We’ve even figured out just the right thing to add to it if you want an alcoholic version. This is now Jo’s favorite winter time drink.Â Be sure and read the comments below for some more ideas on how to make Butterbeer.