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Harry Potter’s Butterbeer the REAL recipe from 1588!

Butterbeer has been around since the time of Henry VIII, 1588 to be exact! In this episode we explore the historic libation which inspired J.K. Rowling’s creation of an iconic magical drink.
Harry Potter's Butterbeer the REAL recipe from 1588! | The Educated Barfly

Butterbeer was almost definitely (I say almost because I haven’t ask J.K. herself) based on an actual drink called Buttered Beer dating to Tudor times in England. The first reference to this drink was in a cookbook titled ‘The Good Huswifes Handmaide For The Kitchin’ which was published in London around 1588. There was another versions which was published by Robert May in his 1664 book ‘The Accomplisht Cook’ which makes use of Licorice Root and Aniseed, which is added to the original recipe. It’s possible that J.K. Rowling based the fictional Butterbeer on a mix of these two recipes.

In the world of Harry Potter Butterbeer is served both steaming hot and also cold in the bottle. The hot version can be found at the Three Broomsticks and the cold version can be found at the Hogs Head in the town of Hogsmeade. It is never explicit whether it contains alcohol or not but it is plain that the kids have to be a little older to drink it but they never get drunk, that said it does get House elves very very drunk as evidenced by House Elf Winkie’s abuse of the stuff in the Goblet Of Fire. So it stands to reason that it is lightly alcoholic which, given their size, would affect a House Elf more than a human. Alrighty, go make this for the holiday and enjoy!


  • 3 Pints (1.65L) Good English Ale (your choice)
  • 5 Egg Yolks
  • 200g Demerarra Sugar
  • 100g Butter
  • 1 Tsp Nutmeg
  • Pinch Ginger
  • Pinch Clove
  • Nutmeg Garnish

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