Arguably one of the most anticipated experiences in Universal Studios for every Potterhead is their first sip of Butterbeer™. Simply described in the Harry Potter book series as “a little bit like less-sickly butterscotch,” many people have tried to create their take on this drink, but the J.K. Rowling approved theme park version might be as close as we fans can get to tasting one of the wizarding world’s favorite beverages.
In the books, two versions of the drink were described – served cold in bottles or hot in tankards. There are, however, a few differences between the books’ description and the theme park version. The alcoholic content is withheld (sadly), and instead of being served in bottles, the cold drinks are served in plastic cups or souvenir mugs. Hot butterbeer is served in a paper cup. Universal Studios also crafted a frozen version of Butterbeer™, which we will get into shortly.
Inside the Wizarding World theme parks, you will find two or three versions of Butterbeer™ in drink form. During warmer seasons, only the regular and frozen butterbeers are served. Colder seasons allow for hot butterbeer to be offered as well. While many fans who have been to the theme parks argue about which is better, I find their comparisons a bit lacking in detail. For the most part, they’ll only mention which one they prefer. To end this great debate, we’ll be describing each version to see how they differ.
First, let’s talk about the regular butterbeer. It has a carbonated drink base and topped with a butterscotch-flavored cream. The soft drink tasted like a more fragrant cream soda but a lot less sweeter. What makes this beverage great is the mixture of the sweet cream froth and light soda. The two contrasting yet oddly complimentary flavors meld in your mouth, creating a smooth elixir with a rich but not cloying mouthfeel. Plus, the cream foam is fun to rock as a mustache!
Next up is their frozen version. Muggles seem to have this obsession with slushy drinks, so of course, Universal Studios concocted a refreshment suited to their taste buds. The frozen butterbeer sports a much sweeter base than the regular one and is topped by the same whipped cream. This combination is more cloying because of the overpowering sweetness. This drink is a fan-favorite, which I found surprising. While it might be a nice drink during hot summers, I’ll pass on this toothache-inducing concoction next time. In fact, this was the only drink we didn’t finish.
Lastly, there is hot butterbeer. Ladies and gentlemen, prepare your taste buds to be apparated into a different dimension because this drink was absolutely magical. It tasted of milky caramel with a faint hint of a spice I can’t put my finger on and was perfectly complemented by the frothy butterscotch cream. The consistency of the drink was just right – not too rich, not to thin. One swig instantly made me feel calmer and happier. It was quite like how Harry felt when he took his first sip of hot butterbeer, I’d imagine. It’s worth going back to the theme park again for another cup of this.
We visited Orlando during winter and were able to try all the different beverages. I highly recommend going to the theme park during the off season as well. You don’t have to worry about the scorching summer heat, and the weather changes so much you can get Butterbeer™ in all its forms to best suit the daily forecast! Universal Studios also offers other butterbeer treats, such as fudge, soft serve, and potted cream. I didn’t try these myself, but they could be well worth eating too!
How was your Butterbeer™ experience? Tell me which is your favorite and why!