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The Butterbeer Project, trial 1

March 1st, 2015 (01:36 am)

P1320116 Butterbeer #1 cropped, webI've been curious about all the various recipes that are floating around the internet for butterbeer, a favorite drink of Hogwarts students in the Harry Potter world. For some time, I've wanted to experiment with some of these recipes, and see if I could make butterbeer that I would actually want to drink.

In the books, butterbeer is alcoholic. This is never mentioned in the films, probably because of American sensibilities and American liquor laws that would not allow Harry and his friends to imbibe if Hogsmeade were in, say, Fairfax County. And of course, the butterbeer served at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park contains no alcohol. (Here's the Fox News attempt at replicating the recipe from the theme park.) My own butterbeer, I knew, would have to be at least a little bit boozy. Or more than a little bit.

Last night I tried my first butterbeer recipe. (This one is from the Velociriot website.) The recipe uses cream soda for a base, and DeKuyper's ButterShots liqueur (it's butterscotch schnapps) for the butter flavor.

* Measure 2.5 Tbsp (1 shot) of ButterShots into a tumbler. Add 1 cup of cream soda.
* In a small bowl, combine 2 Tbsp. marshmallow creme with 1 Tbsp. Buttershots liqueur.
* Microwave the marshmallow mixture on high for 30 seconds, stir, and pour it into the cream soda mixture in the tumbler.
* Enjoy!

So, did I enjoy it? Eh. Not so much (though I did finish it all, so I guess it wasn't too terrible).

For one thing, I think I should have microwaved the marshmallow mixture a while longer. The marshmallow hadn't melted properly, and instead of a smooth creamy texture, I had little blobs of marshmallow. I'm guessing the instruction to microwave it for 30 seconds was tested in a microwave much newer and more powerful than my 20-year-old one. While the marshmallow contributes to a nice, thick head, mine had a weird, lumpy texture that a little more melt time might have smoothed out.

The marshmallow also makes this butterbeer awfully sweet. Perhaps, in a different base, that wouldn't be a problem, but on top of cream soda, it was much sweeter than I wanted -- though I'm not arguing against the sweetness of the Buttershots, which is really tasty stuff! To be honest, I've never been much of a fan of cream soda, which I've always found to be at the same time too bland and too sweet. I might try this one again and substitute something else for the cream soda, something with more of a kick. And I don't necessarily mean an alcoholic kick. Some spiciness would add a lot.

Speaking of adding a kick, after I tasted this one, I added Scotch. It helped.

Final analysis: This is not the butterbeer of my dreams. The cream soda both waters down the butterscotch flavor and adds unnecessary sweetness without being particularly interesting. I want some spice, more of an edge. I'll have to head back to Potions class and see if I can come up with a tastier version.