Author: Rowling, J.K.
Book: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Difficulty rating: Depends on the recipe chosen
Deliciousness rating: Depends heavily on the recipe and consumer’s taste!
On July 25, 36 Eggs held our Butterbeer House Cup Tournament! We split ourselves up into the four Houses — most of us already knew which House we’d be sorted into, although there were some last-minute Pottermore log-ins. Each House developed their own recipe to enter to win the Butterbeer House Cup (i.e. the Felix Felicis shotglass that I’d made at a paint-your-own-pottery place a while back).
Ron came back five minutes later, carrying three foaming tankards of hot Butterbeer …. Harry drank deeply. It was the most delicious thing he’d ever tasted and seemed to heat every bit of him from the inside. (Prisoner UK 218, US 201)
THE BUTTERBEER HOUSE CUP
7* recipes found online were compiled into Butterbeer recipe resource booklets for the Houses to consult (here are the PDF and Word documents for download). The Butterbeer Brewing Data Sheet (which includes a list of all of the references to Butterbeer in the books and a page for notes) can be found here in PDF and here in Word format. *Because 7 is the most powerful magical number.
We had the following ingredients available for use:
- Butterscotch Schnapps
- cream, heavy
- cream, whipped
- extract, vanilla
- food coloring, yellow
- ice cream, vanilla
- ice cream topping, butterscotch
- ice cream topping, caramel
- soda, club
- soda, dry vanilla
- sugar, brown
- sugar, caramelized
- sugar, powdered
- sugar, white
- syrup, maple
- vinegar, cider
- whiskey, Irish
Hilariously, the Houses acted exactly according to stereotype with this challenge. The Gryffindors charged ahead and started mixing ingredients before the other teams had even begun collecting their thoughts. The Hufflepuffs cheerily formed a circle and cooperated together to make their recipe.
The Slytherins whispered and warned other teams to step off because their method was secret. The Ravenclaws had an intellectual discussion about their Butterbeer vision, broke into pairs to test their concoctions, and debated which was their best representative. They voted 4 to 3 between Recipe 1 and 2, and we all ended up trying both.
Results were as follows:
- Gryffindor: 1 point
- Hufflepuff: 9 points
- Ravenclaw 1: 3 points
- Ravenclaw 2: 4 points
- Slytherin: 1 point
The Hufflepuffs were declared the House Cup winners! (Heh, for the first time in Harry Potter history, Slytherin Miko mutters.)
HUFFLEPUFF HOUSE RECIPE — House Cup Winner
- 1/2 shot Butterscotch Schnapps
- 1/2 shot rum
- 2 shots dry vanilla soda
- Whip cream
“We cast a spell with one half-shot butterscotch and two shots vanilla soda, spilled into the cauldron. We shook a bottle of magical rum and added it to the cauldron. Lastly, we swished and flicked to get a topping of whipped cream. Repeat steps.” (Quoted from the data sheet.)
GRYFFINDOR HOUSE RECIPE
RAVENCLAW HOUSE RECIPE 1
It’s no surprise that a party hosted by two librarians would be FULL of Ravenclaws.
- 2 tbs butterscotch sauce
- 1 mug of Newcastle
1. Put butterscotch sauce in a mug and add a splash of beer. Microwave for 30 seconds. Stir till dissolved.
2. Add the rest of the beer slowly.
RAVENCLAW HOUSE RECIPE 2
- Dash of cinnamon
- Dash of cloves
- Shot of Butterscotch Schnapps
- 3 shots of dry vanilla soda
- 1-2 shots of Newcastle
SLYTHERIN HOUSE RECIPE
- 2 tbs butter
- 2 tbs brown sugar
- Rum to taste
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Dash of cinnamon
- Special tool needed: milk frother (which costs about $8 from IKEA)
1. Brown the butter over medium heat.
2. Add the brown sugar and caramelize.
3. Whisk in the milk and bring to a boil.
4. Add rum and let it cook off just a little.
5. Add vanilla, cinnamon, and salt.
6. Use the milk frother to make it all foamy.
Did it measure up?
Harry Potter fans all dream of trying Butterbeer, but we all have pretty different ideas of what it would taste like. That’s no surprise if you study the references — the descriptions of Butterbeer are vague in the extreme. All we know about Butterbeer is that it:
- is delicious
- is foamy
- can be drunk hot or cold
- is served in tankards or bottles
There’s also a debate about whether it has alcohol in it or not. I personally hold fast to the belief that it’s at least a little bit boozy because of this quote:
[Winky] was clutching a bottle of Butterbeer and swaying slightly on her stool, staring into the fire. As they watched her, she gave an enormous hiccough.
‘Winky is getting through six bottles a day now,’ Dobby whispered to Harry.
‘Well, it’s not strong, that stuff,’ Harry said.
But Dobby shook his head. ‘’Tis strong for a house-elf, sir,’ he said. (Goblet: UK 583, US 536)
House-elves are tiny in stature — it makes sense that Winky has super-low tolerance to even a teensy bit of alcohol. Also, Butterbeer is given for the first time to third-years, who are now old enough to go to the Hogsmeade pub. It wouldn’t be crazy if the wizarding world had a very weak alcoholic drink that they must be 13 to drink.
Miko: My favorite of all of the recipes we tried was Ravenclaw 2. I did like Slytherin’s also, since it’s what I pictured Butterbeer to be — sort of a butterscotchy hot chocolate-like drink, but I’d double the amount of butter and maybe put a little more brown sugar.
Jenne: Is it uncool to say my own recipe (Ravenclaw 1) was my favorite? Well, too bad because it was. It tasted exactly like I imagined butterbeer–fizzy, not milky, but with some body to it, and not too sweet. The combination of butterscotch sauce and beer produced a perfect foam!
If I was going strictly by taste, I would have picked one of the other Ravenclaw recipes, the only non-alcoholic one. Created of course by Django, our 11-year-old youngest member! It was lovely and refreshing with a hint of cinnamon, a bit like horchata. However, it didn’t taste anything like my imagined butterbeer so I didn’t vote for it. Sorry, man.
Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. London: Bloomsbury, 1999.
Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. New York: Scholastic Inc., 1999.
Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. London: Bloomsbury, 2000.
Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. New York: Scholastic Inc., 2000.