Last Updated on October 14, 2023 by Leah Hall
We love some Harry Potter, and this alcoholic butterbeer recipe is an homage to the books (or the movies) whichever!
As Halloween quickly approaches, its time for a little fun with spooky or magic inspired cocktails. One source of inspiration for us as Harry Potter fans has been the Harry Potter book series and movies. With our sons loving the world of Harry Potter they have taken us back to the wonderful magical world of Hogwarts with the Harry Potter movies.
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Because of this, it reminded us of the Butterbeer drink that shows up at Hogsmeade and other events throughout the books. Plus, there is a Butterbeer served at the Wizarding World Of Harry Potter at Universal Studios. From everything we have read it is cold and refreshing. We wanted to make an adult version of Harry Potter world butterbeer cocktail, as the magical drink at the park is kid-friendly and for all.
The version sold throughout the theme park are alcohol-free, but this homemade alcoholic butterbeer recipe has a boozy kick for adults to enjoy! Plus, we have seen online that the predominating flavor of the non-alcoholic butterbeer is cream soda, and that people think it’s too sweet. See more Spooky Halloween cocktails!
What is Butterbeer?
The young wizards and witches’ take a trip to Hogsmeade, where they partake in Butterbeer at the Three Broomsticks Inn. It is also talked about at Bill & Fleur’s wedding, and the Yule Ball, too. 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.
It can go right along with classic Harry Potter series food and drink references like chocolate frogs, pumpkin juice, every flavor beans, and more! Whether you are a muggle, house elves or grown-up wizards, we think you will like this festive drink, the perfect addition to your Harry Potter Movie Marathon!
We have seen lots of different versions of this fictional drink, Butterbeer online. These range from recipes that use marshmallow fluff, butterscotch liqueur, butterscotch schnapps, regular cream soda, a high amount of sugar and even hot butterbeer! But, we hadn’t seen one that would be a cool homemade version as a bubbly boozy beverage. In the books, J.K. Rowling describes butterbeer as being a little bit like less-sickly butterscotch with a slight alcoholic content.
It seems to be a tasty drink with the perfect amount of butterscotch flavor but not super sweet. Caramel and butterscotch are both made with simple ingredients, usually with heavy cream, and are a great sweet treat. But, butterscotch syrup is made from brown sugar and butter. Caramel is made with white sugar and butter, but the two taste different.
So, we wanted to start out with something that would bring some of those butterscotch flavors to the cocktail. For this fun cocktail we went with a bourbon whiskey which brings a warm hint of vanilla, caramel and baking spices. This alcoholic butterbeer recipe is light, but perfect for fall as well and we think you will love it from your first sip!
What Ingredients are Needed for the Alcoholic Butterbeer Recipe?
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 butterscotch (and is one we have used successfully in other drinks.) This combination really worked right out of the box for this easy recipes.
The cider adds a tart freshness and brings an earthy depth to the Alcoholic Butterbeer recipe. A splash of spicy ginger beer brings a bit of bubbles and gives the cocktail a crisp snappy finish.
- Bourbon – bourbon whiskey gives a great vanilla, baking spices and caramel flavor to this cocktail.
- Buttered Brown Sugar Simple Syrup – this ingredient adds so much of the sweet flavor from brown sugar as well as the richness from the Butter Extract: You can find this next to the vanilla extract in the spice aisle of local grocery stores. Just plan ahead and make this syrup recipe ahead of time to make this delicious sip! Recipe is down with the cocktail recipe below.
- Apple Cider – a quintessential fall ingredient around here, this is a great way to add fall flavor as well as sour and sweetness at the same time. Try Apple Cider in more of our cocktails like Caramel Apple Moscow Mule or Hot Buttered Bourbon Cider or Nightmare on Whisky Street!
- Ginger Beer – This adds some effervescence to the cocktail as well as a bite from the ginger to cut down on the sweetness. Ginger beer is one of our favorite things to use for flavor!
- Dry Ice – (optional) this is COMPLETELY optional. We have some other fun suggestions below. But, if you are interested in the spooky aspects of using dry ice in cocktails make sure to read our tips below! Otherwise, just serve this sip over ice cubes. NOTE: drinking dry ice is not safe! If you add it to a drink, make sure it is completely dissolved before drinking the cocktail. This may mean waiting several minutes for it to do so. It is a safer option to use a larger chunk of dry ice in a bowl with warm water to give the effect of the dry ice in the area you are serving. Use caution and always use gloves and tongs when handling dry ice. Just skip it altogether if safety precautions can’t be followed.
How to Make Butterbeer?
We wanted to know how to make a butterbeer alcoholic, and we wanted to capture the butterscotch flavor. Since a traditional butterscotch sauce is thick, we knew this wouldn’t really work in a cold cocktail. Wanting a smooth boozy beverage, 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 extract adds another dimension of flavor to the syrup, making this more than just a sweet addition.
We think the the bourbon gives this Harry Potter butterbeer the warmth that the books describe in the recipe. Simply make the buttered brown sugar syrup ahead of time and let it cool before making the easy butterbeer recipe.
Then, add all the ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain, and enjoy!
Add dry ice if you want. (Tips below).
Harry Potter Drinks
You know we love a good Harry Potter themed cocktail. Other than the alcoholic butterbeer recipe, here are some more delicious recipes that are alcoholic drinks:
Dry Ice Tips
No magical inspired cocktail would be complete with out a little showmanship! 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 Butter beer. This helps keep this version of Butterbeer balanced and refreshing.
Once the bubbling stops, blow off the fog and sip away, and see if this Butterbeer recipe with alcohol takes you to a magical place! Maybe if you are reading Harry Potter while drinking it! Check this cocktail out, as well as other Halloween ones here!
- Wear heavy gloves and use a hammer and a chisel. Break off super tiny pieces, like the size of a pea.
- Drop the dry ice into the cocktail and it will start bubbling and smoking.
- Don’t drink the cocktail until the dry ice is dissolved and gone.
NOTE: drinking dry ice is not safe! If you add it to a drink, make sure it is completely dissolved before drinking the cocktail. This may mean waiting several minutes for it to do so. It is a safer option to use a larger chunk of dry ice in a bowl with warm water to give the effect of the dry ice in the area you are serving. Use caution and always use gloves and tongs when handling dry ice. Just skip it altogether if safety precautions can’t be followed.
Tips & Tricks
- Theme – this Harry Potter cocktail is perfect for Halloween, Harry Potter-themed party or even a movie marathon.
- Frozen Butterbeer – If you want an even colder cocktail, pour all the ingredients into a blender and add a cup of ice. Blend the frozen version until slushy. Pour this into a chilled or frozen glass to keep it colder longer! Top with some whipped cream or butterscotch sauce.
- Non-Alcoholic – To make this a mocktail, simply remove the bourbon, and replace it with a dash of vanilla extract and more ginger beer. The flavor will be similar, but not have the boozy effects.
- Flavors – if you want some vanilla flavor added, use 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract in the simple syrup. If you don’t have vanilla extract, try .25 oz of vanilla vodka instead in the syrup. Or, if you can’t get butter extract, you can use butter. But, strain the syrup through a coffee filter to get rid of some of the solids. Use 1 Tablespoon for the recipe.
- Garnish – Feel free to garnish with dry ice if you would like (more info above for safety tips). Try some whipped cream. And/or a drizzle of salted caramel syrup, or butterscotch.
- Whipped Cream – Store bought can of whipped cream is fine, or a dollop of Cool Whip on top. Homemade whipped cream is the best option, as you can control the level of sweetness. Some suggestions are to add some butterscotch sauce to your heavy whipping cream and whip it up, or vanilla vodka 1 teaspoon at a time for a boozy whipped cream, just beat until you have stiff peaks. If you don’t want to use whipped topping, this homemade butterbeer recipe is lovely served like a float on top of a scoop of vanilla ice cream, too! Try another Halloween float with our Margarita Float!
- Chill – make sure your ingredients are chilled before shaking. Also, place your brandy snifter or pint glass in the freezer to chill before making this drink.
- For a Crowd – If you want to make this large batch you can. Serve it in a punch bowl, or large pitcher and let everyone serve themselves. Make sure you have some whipped cream and butterscotch on the side for topping. We recommend multiplying the ingredients by 10 or 12x to make enough for a big batch.
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Like this recipe? Try these below, too!
Other Halloween Cocktails
- Zombie Blood Bags
- Ghost Graveyard Cocktail – Creative Culinary
- Hocus Pocus Drink
- Halloween Pumpkin Cocktail
- Black Widow Cocktail – Giraffes Can Bake
- Polyjuice Cocktail – Homemade Hooplah
- Hocus Pocus Cocktail
An adult version of the Harry Potter movies favorite drink, this cocktail is perfect for any evening.
Buttered Brown Sugar Syrup
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon butter extract
- 1.50 ounces bourbon
- 1 ounce buttered brown sugar simple syrup
- 4 ounces apple cider
- 2 ounces ginger beer
- Ice or dry ice (if dry ice a very very small chunk, the size of a pea) more info below
For the Bourbon Butterbeer
Combine all ingredients and stir in glass. You can also add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker and shake. Pour over ice if not using dry ice.
Serve with dry ice for effect (optional).
For the Buttered Brown Sugar Syrup
Combine water and brown sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. When cool, add the butter extract.
Store in airtight container in the refrigerator.
NOTE: drinking dry ice is not safe! If you add it to a drink, make sure it is completely dissolved before drinking the cocktail. This may mean waiting several minutes for it to do so. It is a safer option to use a larger chunk of dry ice in a bowl with warm water to give the effect of the dry ice in the area you are serving. Use caution and always use gloves and tongs when handling dry ice. Just skip it altogether if safety precautions can't be followed.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Hiware LZS13B 12 Inches Stainless Steel Mixing Spoon, Spiral Pattern Bar Cocktail Shaker Spoon
Watkins Butter Extract with Other Natural Flavors, 11 oz. Bottle, 1 Count (Packaging May Vary)
Luigi Bormioli 10195/02 Michelangelo Masterpiece 13-1/4-ounce Napoleon Brandy, Set of 4
Fever-Tree Premium Ginger Beer, 16.9 Ounce Glass Bottles (Pack of 8)
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 261Total Fat: 0.1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 28mgCarbohydrates: 42gFiber: 0gSugar: 17.3gProtein: 0.1g
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