As Halloween quickly approaches, its time for a little fun with spooky or magic inspired cocktails. One source of inspiration for us has been the Harry Potter books, and with our oldest boy discovering the world of Harry Potter via us reading the books aloud to him, he has taken us back to the wonderful magical world of Hogwarts. We recently read the chapter about the young wizards and witches’ trip to Hogsmeade, where they partake in a few glasses of Butterbeer. Butterbeer has captured the imagination of lots of readers (us included) so we wanted to make a a cocktail that would pay homage to this famous wizard beverage, so we came up with our Bourbon Butterbeer.
We have seen lots of different versions of Butterbeer, from ones that use marshmallow fluff, to ones that are made from 3 different sodas and served piping hot, but we hadn’t seen one that would be a cool bubbly cocktail. In the books, Butterbeer is described as tasting kind of like a less sweet butterscotch, so we wanted to start out with something that would bring some of those caramel flavors to the cocktail, so we went with a nice sweet bourbon which brings a warm hint of vanilla, caramel and baking spices.
We wanted to capture some butterscotch flavor as well, but a traditional butterscotch sauce is awfully thick, which wouldn’t really work in a cold cocktail, as it tends to get really thick. Wanting a smooth drinking cocktail, we came up with a delicious buttered brown sugar syrup. The buttered brown sugar syrup brings a rich deep sweetness, and a beautiful caramel color, plus a hint of buttery flavor. The hint of butter adds another dimension of flavor to the syrup, making this more than just a sweet addition.
Wanting a little bit of a fall flavor, we grabbed one of the quintessential fall ingredients, apple cider. Apple cider pairs really well with bourbon and caramel (and is one we have used successfully in other drinks,) so this combination really worked right out of the box. The apple cider adds a tart freshness and brings an earthy depth to the Bourbon Butterbeer. A splash of spicy ginger beer brings a bit of bubbles and gives the cocktail a crisp snappy finish.
No magical inspired cocktail would be complete with out a little showmanship, so we dropped in a couple of pea sized chunks of dry ice which quickly chills down the drink while causing it to bubble and smoke. The resulting fog and bubbles definitely feels like something that a wizard would dream up, and the dry ice imparts just a hint of bitterness to the Bourbon Butterbeer, which helps keep this version of Butterbeer balanced and refreshing. Once the bubbling stops, blow off the fog and sip away, and see if this Bourbon Butterbeer takes you to a magical place!
- 1 1/2 oz bourbon
- 1 oz buttered brown sugar simple syrup (recipe below)
- 4 oz apple cider
- 2 oz ginger beer
- Ice or dry ice (if dry ice, a very very small chunk, the size of a pea)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1 tsp butter extract
- Combine all ingredients and stir. Serve with dry ice for effect (optional).
- Combine water and brown sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. When cool, add in butter extract. Store in airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Note on Dry Ice: Don't let the ice cubes touch your mouth or skin, and don't drink them. Wait until they melt (the bubbling stops) before drinking your cocktail.
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