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A magical brewing experiment

What Harry Potter fan has never wished to be strolling through the snow-girt village of Hogsmeade, past Honeydukes Sweet Shop and Zonko’s Joke Shop, and then relishfully sipping a warm butterbeer in the Three Broomsticks? If you’re a Muggle, and don’t happen to be sauntering through a Harry Potter theme park, all that would seem to be impossible. All of it? Not the thing with the butterbeer 🙂

For those who are not that conversant with magic: butterbeer is a fictitious, lite beer consumed widely and with relish in the Harry Potter novels. In reality, butterbeer meanwhile ranks among the most famous beverages in the history of literature. Unfortunately, J.K. Rowling has not revealed a recipe for it, but has explained in interviews that she imagines its taste to be “a little bit like less-sickly butterscotch”. So I resolved to brew the famous beer myself.

On the internet, there are umpteen different recipes for it: with alcohol, without alcohol, butterbeer served warm, butterbeer served cold …

With so much to choose from, it’s not easy to decide. So I drew up a list of priorities.

First of all, of course, I listed two essential constituents – butter and beer.

For the other ingredients, I browsed a huge range of different recipes, and chose the ones I thought would help me come closest to my own idea of butterbeer.

So in the end I decided on 500 ml of milk, half a teaspoonful each of cinnamon, cocoa and icing sugar plus a vanilla pod.

And then I began to “brew”:

First of all, I melted 50 grams of butter in a pot. Then I poured the half litre of milk into this pot, and added cinnamon, cocoa and icing sugar. Finally, I added the seeds from the vanilla pod and mixed it all together. I then brought it to the boil again, stirring all the while.

So far, my butterbeer still looked highly unspectacular. But after all, the crucial ingredient was yet to come: the beer. So I poured half a litre of beer into the pot, and stirred it into the milk mixture.

The liquid thickened immediately, and a compact brown foam formed on the surface.

I let the liquid simmer for a little bit longer on a low heat, and then took it off the hob.

Finally, I emptied the finished butterbeer into a glass. To be honest, it wasn’t quite the way I’d imagined it. The compact foam had quickly collapsed, leaving behind a watery brown mess. I wanted the butterbeer to have a creamier consistency, so I sprayed a bit of cream on the top, and decorated it all with cinnamon as well.

Finally: the taste test. And a pleasant surprise. The drink turned out to be not at all bad. Slightly sweet, but nonetheless with the taste of beer dominating. As far as I’m concerned, I wouldn’t have minded it being a bit more viscous and sweeter, and there must be one or two ways to improve it. But all in all, I was satisfied with my home-brewed butterbeer.


And as I sat there sipping my butterbeer, I actually felt for a brief moment as if I were drinking it in the Three Broomsticks. Without any wizardry whatsoever 🙂

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