In our humble opinion, every Harry Potter fan should visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios at least once. In Orlando, the Wizarding World spans two of the resort's theme parks, both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, which are connected via the Hogwarts Express to move Potter lovers from London's Diagon Alley to Hogsmeade Village and Hogwarts itself. Even in the often oppressive summertime heat, the snow-capped roofs of Hogsmeade and the fire-breathing dragon perched on top of Gringotts Bank are incredibly believable. To really immerse yourself in the experience, a sip of Butterbeer is an absolute must for your trip through these magical parks.
If you've been wondering what Butterbeer tastes like and where to get it, you've come to the right place. We donned our house robes and headed to Universal Studios Orlando to try every Butterbeer option that's offered and give you all the information you need to help choose which Butterbeer option is right for you. From hot to cold, liquid to crunchy, here are the eight different ways to enjoy Butterbeer at Universal Studio's Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Classic Butterbeer With Foam Topping
If this is your first time tasting Butterbeer and you just want the straightforward experience, the regular Butterbeer is where you should start. On the menu, the drink is described as "a non-alcoholic sweet drink reminiscent of shortbread and butterscotch," which we'd agree is pretty on the mark. Or if that's still a little vague for you, it's like a slightly sweeter cream soda with extra caramel flavor in it. It's cool and carbonated, and a creamy foamy topping is added to the top to give it that iconic frothy beer finish — which we happen to like, and the creaminess adds to the overall enjoyment of the drink. It's carbonated, but lightly — not strongly carbonated like a fresh can of Coke.
While specific ingredients aren't listed on the menu, Butterbeer is friendly to those with gluten, soy, egg, wheat, and nut allergies. The additional topping does include "trace amounts of dairy," but can be left off if that's something you'd like to avoid. Given how popular Butterbeer is, you can find it in stand-alone kiosks, as well as almost all of the food service locations in both the Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley parks. On its own, a Butterbeer costs $8.49, although you can also purchase it in a souvenir plastic mug for $13.49 or a souvenir metal mug for $37.99. Refills are still $8.49, even with a souvenir mug.
There might be fake snow perched on the steeply sloped roofs in Universal Orlando's Hogsmeade Villiage, but the fact of the matter is that it's still probably going to be extremely hot when you visit — because you're still in Florida, after all. And when it's 97 degrees and 97% humidity, a frozen Butterbeer is absolutely going to hit the spot. Even though it comes out of a frozen drink machine similar to a Slurpee, ice is still added to the cup. We didn't love this at first because it equates to less Butterbeer. But we quickly realized that it was necessary, because the drink melts quickly in the heat, and the larger pieces of ice stick around a little longer to actually keep the drink cold.
This version of the drink closely reminds us of a classic soda fountain cream soda float, both refreshing and a little nostalgic. Because it's over ice, it's also easy to suck down pretty quickly if you're rushing to get on a ride or don't feel like carrying a drink around with you for that long. We picked up a frozen Butterbeer from the keg-shaped Butterbeer kiosk in the square in front of Honeydukes, where it cost us $9.00 without tax, but the price may vary depending on where you get this Butterbeer. It's available at stand-alone kiosks, quick-service, and sit-down restaurants in both Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley, and can be refilled (for an additional charge) if you purchase the souvenir mug.
We know we just finished telling you how hot it is in Florida, and how refreshing a frozen Butterbeer is to help break the heat ... but hear us out. Hot Butterbeer is one of our favorite ways to enjoy it, regardless of what the temperature is outside. This version of the drink is dairy-based, sort of like you're having a hot chocolate, but a hot butterscotch drink instead. It doesn't come across as sweet as the other versions of the drink do, likely because of the milk base. The foam topping either wasn't included with the hot Butterbeer or was completely melted into the drink by the time we received it, but it wasn't missed. At the Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade, a Hot Butterbeer cost us $8.49; the same price as the regular and frozen options.
Think of it like canceling out heat with more heat, sort of like cultures that enjoy hot soup year-round, including in the middle of the stifling hot summertime. If that doesn't quite convince you, we'd recommend planning your visit during the colder months when the highs in Orlando are in the 70s and the lows are in the 50s, or taking the opportunity to duck into one of the restaurants serving Hot Butterbeer when a thunderstorm inevitably passes over the park. A Hot Butterbeer on a rainy afternoon, looking out over Hogwarts, is our idea of peak Wizard vibes — and about as close to magic as it gets.
Butterbeer And Fire Whisky
Butterbeer is strictly non-alcoholic, and nowhere in the parks is Butterbeer sold with alcohol mixed into it. As such, we're referring to this as the Butterbeer-that-must-not-be-named. But several locations in the Wizarding World do sell a shot of "Fire Whisky" (as well as other alcoholic drinks) on a one-per-person, per-order basis, and Butterbeer may also be ordered alongside it. According to our bartender, it's against park rules to pour your shot of Fire Whisky into your Butterbeer, and if an employee sees you doing it, you could be asked to pour out your drink or even risk being removed from the park altogether — so what you do with these two drinks from there is entirely at your own discretion.
We asked our bartender at the Hogs Head bar if the Fire Whisky was just Fireball, and were pleased to find out that it wasn't. It's a cinnamon whisky that comes from a different distillery altogether. According to the trademark filed for the whisky back in 2015, it is 70 proof, or 35% alcohol by volume, which is relatively low alcohol content as far as liquors are concerned. On its own, the Fire Whisky has a pleasant, warm, and smooth cinnamon taste and none of the harsh burn we've come to expect from Fireball. The price of a Butterbeer and a shot of Fire Whisky is $19.99 before tax (and $24.99 for a double shot).
Butterbeer Soft Serve
Whether you'd prefer to eat your sweets instead of drink them, or you just love Butterbeer so much that you want to try it in every possible format, there are several Butterbeer dessert options you can choose from. The first is the Butterbeer soft serve ice cream, which you'll find in two locations in Diagon Alley. If you head over to Florean Fortescue's Ice-Cream Parlour, this option is available served in a waffle cone for $6.49. It can also be ordered in a cup for $5.49. The line in Florean Fortescue's Ice-Cream Parlour can get rather long depending on the time of day, crowds, and heat index, so if you're only looking for this particular soft serve, you can also order it at the Fountain of Fair Fortune next door. In one location it's called soft serve, while it's called ice cream in the other location. But you'll end up with the same thing regardless of what you call it.
The soft serve packs all the Butterbeer flavor that you'll find in the drinks, but with a creamy richness that comes from it being in ice cream format. The dairy helps to round out the sweet butterscotch flavor, which might be more approachable for some people. The caramel ribbons on the edges of the soft serve are a nice touch, really bringing that old-school ice cream parlor style to life.
Butterbeer Ice Cream
At the Leaky Cauldron, Three Broomsticks, and The Hopping Pot, you'll see Butterbeer Ice Cream on the menu — and while we suspect that it begins as the same soft serve ice cream we tried earlier, it's packaged differently and has a very different texture than the freshly twisted cones you'll find at Florean Fortescue's Ice-Cream Parlour. We ordered a cup of Butterbeer Ice Cream from the Three Broomsticks location, where it cost $6.49 (cones are not available).
The ice cream comes packed in a cup with a lid, and the texture is far less creamy and more icy than the Butterbeer soft serve. It's also not quite as hard as traditional ice cream, but easily spoonable, which is what gave us the impression that it was just packaged and deep frozen soft serve. With that said, this isn't an option you should sleep on. The icy texture is a lot like what you'll get with the frozen Butterbeer in drink form, but with the fuller flavor from the additional dairy. It's also a smaller portion size than the drink, which might be all you need or want. It's definitely the least attractive of all the Butterbeer options, but it also might be the most satisfying.
Butterbeer Potted Cream
Potted cream, not to be confused with the very British clotted cream, is essentially a pudding. The Butterbeer potted cream is served at the Three Broomsticks and the Leaky Cauldron for $6.49, both sit-down restaurants in Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley parks. Fittingly, the pudding comes served in an actual pot with a small dollop of whipped cream on top. The allergen information on the menu mentions that the pudding is dairy-based, but it doesn't include eggs, gluten, or soy.
Essentially, if you like butterscotch pudding, you'll probably enjoy the Butterbeer clotted cream. We were immediately impressed by how silky smooth the texture of the pudding is. And at first bite, the pudding seemed to be more creamy than sweet. But once the pudding settles on the back of your tongue and you eat a few more spoonfuls, the stronger the sweetness seems to get. The potted cream is rich, to the point that we'd suggest sharing it if you don't have a giant sweet tooth (even though it's a relatively small serving).
It's easy to overlook the Butterbeer Fudge option because it's only sold in one location in each park. To find it, you'll have to go to Sugarplum's Sweet Shop in Diagon Alley or Honeydukes in Hogsmeade, the very same candy shop Harry Potter ends up in after following a secret passage out of Hogwarts thanks to the Marauder's map in "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban." There are shelves packed with magical treats, but the fudge is available in the dessert case next to the cash registers, where you'll also find other flavors of fudge and freshly baked desserts. A large bar of Butterbeer fudge costs $5.50, which we think is well worth the price given how substantial it is.
We braced ourselves for an onslaught of sweetness, but were pleasantly surprised by how buttery the Butterbeer fudge is. The two-toned confection has a toasty caramel flavor on the bottom, and a buttery cream flavor on the top, making it a nicely balanced dessert as a whole. Given how dense it is, it might be a lot to eat in one sitting, but it's a great sugar boost to nibble on throughout the day while you're running around the theme parks. Additionally, if you'd like to take it home with you, ask to have it wrapped in something other than tissue paper, which will likely absorb a lot of moisture and leave your fudge a gloppy mess thanks to the Florida humidity.
Read the original article on Mashed.