Recipe: How To Make Butterbeer

By Ellie Smith

4 weeks ago

A recipe for the Harry Potter-inspired drink

All Harry Potter fans know about butterbeer: the sweet, creamy tipple enjoyed by Hogwarts students. But it turns out the drink exists outside the realm of the wizarding world, and can be easily recreated using a mix of cream, sugar and soda. Whether you’re a Potterhead looking to recreate the drink for a themed event, or simply a Muggle who fancies giving it a try, read on to discover how to make butterbeer.

What Is Butterbeer?

J.K. Rowling put the butterscotch-flavoured tipple on the map through her books, but a version of the drink was actually mentioned all the way back in the 16th century. A recipe for ‘Buttered Beere’ was included in a book published in the late 1500s called The Good Huswifes Handmaide for the Kitchin. However, Rowling said she conjured up the taste herself, saying in a 2002 interview: ‘I made it up. I imagine it to taste a little bit less like sickly butterscotch.’

In the Harry Potter books, butterbeer is a drink made with butterscotch, sugar and water, served either cold in bottles, or hot in ‘foaming tankards’. Students of Hogwarts buy it when visiting Hogsmeade, at pubs the Three Broomsticks Inn and the Hog’s Head Inn, and in Diagon Alley the drink is sold at the Leaky Cauldron. 

Harry Potter

Is Butterbeer Alcoholic?

It’s implied in the books that butterbeer may have a very slight alcohol content. ‘It’s not strong, that stuff,’ says Harry, to which Dobby replies: ‘’Tis strong for a house-elf sir’. Plus, Harry wonders what Ron and Hermione might do at Professor Slughorn’s Christmas party ‘under the influence of butterbeer’. 

However, the version created at Universal Studios’ Harry Potter experience is non-alcoholic, allowing fans of all ages to enjoy a sip. If you’re creating your own version at home, you can choose to make it alcoholic by adding a small amount of rum.

How To Make Butterbeer

Due to its whimsical nature, there’s no definitive recipe for butterbeer, but of course many have had a go. Most recipes are made using a mix of cream soda, butterscotch syrup, sugar, cream and butter (it’s one for the sweet-toothed). Here’s a simple one to try using just five ingredients.

Easy Butterbeer Recipe

Serves 2


  • 2 cans or bottles cream soda
  • 2 tbsp butterscotch or caramel sauce/syrup
  • 150ml double cream 
  • 2 tsp butter extract (or 25g butter, melted)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Combine the cream soda and the butterscotch syrup in a bowl, and give it a good stir.
  2. Whisk the cream until it has a thick, foamy consistency, then add the butter and vanilla extract (or melted butter).
  3. Pour the cream soda mixture into a chilled glass – ideally a beer mug.
  4. Top it with the whipped cream mixture. For a final touch, you can drizzle some more syrup on top.