My love of Harry Potter is a well-documented fact. I’ve settled into this persona quite comfortably, in general into the persona of someone that would rather live in other worlds than this own. Not to say that I’m all doom and gloom about reality, aside from the political nightmare we’re living in. I mean, this year has been amazing! I got married to my favorite person in the world! I went to France! I started school for web development! Lots and lots to be thankful for. But yeah, I much prefer the dream-worlds in my head and on the page.
To celebrate the new Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them movie, I naturally had friends over for healthy-ish ground chicken shepherd’s pie and homemade butterbeer. There have been many many (2) attempts at butterbeer before this one, all with mediocre-at-best results. And don’t get me started on the corn-syrup bomb that is the butterbeer at Universal Studios. That shit is gross. Anyhow, our previous attempts were focused on using actual beer, which, meh. So this time I gave up on the beer part and just looked for a recipe that sounded warm and not too sweet but still boozy.
I want to thank Laura Mandanas for doing most of the legwork for me and writing the very informative article: A Muggle’s Quest For The Perfect Mug Of (Alcoholic) Butterbeer. From there I looked at the recipes for the top three, and her #1, a version by The Roaming Kitchen, looked right up my alley. It still has beer, but of the ginger variety, and rum (!), and homemade salted butterscotch (!!) that you can add more or less of upon your personal sweetness preference. It was so. damn. good. Like, too good. Like take the place of boozy hot chocolate forever good.
- .25 cup unsalted butter
- .5 cup packed dark or light brown sugar (I used dark)
- .5 cup, plus 1 cup heavy cream
- .5 teaspoon flaky sea salt, plus more to taste
- 1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- a heaping 1/8 teaspoon fresh nutmeg, plus more for garnish
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
- 1/3 a vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- 1.5 ounce dark rum
- 1.5 cups (about 2 bottles) ginger beer (I used Reed’s Ginger Beer (not ale!))
For the butterscotch:
Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the sugar, 1/2 cup heavy cream, and salt and whisk until well blended. Bring to a very gentle boil and cook for about five minutes, whisking occasionally. Remove from heat and add one teaspoon of the vanilla extract, stirring to combine. Then taste and adjust salt to your preference. I always add more because I’m salty like that.
For whipped topping:
Pour 1 cup heavy cream in a bowl and use your guns to whip the heck out of it till you form just barely stiff peaks. Protip: make sure the cream is cold!
For the butterbeer:
Melt the butter in a medium pot, over medium-low heat. Add the nutmeg, light brown sugar, and vanilla bean. Give it a whisk. Wait until the butter is bubbling gently, and then add the rum and stir again. Let the rum come to a little bubble, 1 minute. Add the ginger beer and heat through.
To prepare your mugs, add a big spoonful of butterscotch to the bottom of each glass and ladle some of that butterbeer on top. Stir to combine, then top with whipped cream and grated nutmeg. Sip in front of the fire whilst dreaming of Hogwarts.
Note: I made a big batch and left it on the stove over low heat. Make sure to stir before serving as is can separate a bit.