Butterbeer Bonanza, a Three-Part Series: An Introduction
Flashback Friday is all the rage on the inter webs, and dear MuggleNet readers, have I got one doozy of a flashback for you: On June 18, 2010, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (Hogsmeade) opened to the public at Universal Studios in Orlando. In 2010, WWoHP Hogsmeade had three main attractions, in addition to the then-photo-op-only Hogwarts Express and the various magical shops that dotted the Hogsmeade landscape: Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, which was a 3-D virtual roller coaster set inside the Great Hall of Hogwarts Castle; Dragon Challenge, a dual roller coaster ride that mimicked the experience of two competing Triwizard dragons (the best one of the three, in my opinion); and Flight of the Hippogriff, a rickety cart coaster that wound its route around Hagrid’s hut.
But let’s be frank. The main pull of a real-life Hogsmeade playground was BUTTERBEER. Yep. Sure, the snow-covered streets of Hogsmeade and painstakingly rendered details of the shop windows are beautiful and a joy to behold for the avid Harry Potter readers. Indeed, Hogwarts Castle was so fascinating that I didn’t mind slowly maneuvering my way through, first, the outside of the Castle’s imposing walls, then, Professor Grubbly-Plank’s Greenhouse, and finally, the cool insides of the Castle, which was littered with moving portraits and a tantalizing mirage of the trio.
But the butterbeer. My, oh, my, oh, my. Nevermind the pumpkin juice. Butterbeer, that decadent wizard’s drink, dreamily described by Ron in the third book, incandescently devoured by Harry upon his first Invisibility-cloaked visit to the place, and the infinite fountain of sorrow-erasing booze for Winky the house-elf in the fourth book. I honestly think I had three cups of the delicious stuff while waiting in line for the Hogwarts Castle ride, and I did not – do not – regret a single thing.
WWoHP Hogsmeade sold two version of the drink: a chilled, frothy version that was simply butterscotch-y cream soda, topped with a foamy head of cream, and a frozen version that had the consistency of a slushy Frappuccino and was topped with a healthy dose of whipped cream. The slushy butterbeer was quite excellent and was my sister’s favorite, but I actually preferred the chilled, non-frozen variation. The non-frozen one was a bit more equal parts sweet and salty, which I’m all about.
However, both park versions were decidedly non-alcoholic, and for good reason since Universal Studios is a family-friendly venue, Orlando is a very hot city, and drunken shenanigans do not mesh well with long waits and Harry Potter mania.
Which brings me to the real meat of this article: we, the Creative Team at MuggleNet, have decided that a ranking of butterbeer must be done. We have put upon ourselves the herculean tasks of combing the Internets for official and unofficial butterbeer recipes – that do and do not include the lovely thing that is liquor – all so that we present to you, good readers, an informative compilation of recipes.
Don’t forget the videos.
What kind of people would we be if we didn’t vet the recipes that we will rank? People who would have committed a grievous oversight, in my opinion. Now, we can’t have that! Never fear, our Creative Team is fully committed to the reader’s whole experience, so we will include in this three-part series:
- A definitive ranking of non-alcoholic butterbeer recipes.
- A definitive ranking of alcoholic butterbeer recipes.
- A taste-test of the park’s butterbeers, which will be conducted by the one and only Kat Miller, wondrous MuggleNet admin.