Which is the best butterbeer?
I’d heard this question from so many. I began to ask this question myself as we prepared to visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter courtesy of Universal Orlando. Cold butterbeer vs frozen butterbeer? Butterbeer hot or cold? It was time to find out.
(Complimentary park tickets provided. Affiliate links in post, which may result in a small commission at no cost to you for any purchases made.)
For those of you looking for actual butterbeer recipes (and not our vacation research), other than my friend Sara’s Butterbeer Macarons Recipe, I’ll direct you to some amazing cookbooks like this one (which has the ice cream recipe) or this one.
Or you can purchase Flying Cauldron non-alcoholic drink.
But for those of you heading to a Universal theme park, this post is for you. While I was at Universal Orlando and walking through Hogsmeade, I decided to hop on social media and ask my friends which butterbeer I should try. Why? Well, Harry Potter fans will recognize the fictional drink that was mentioned in the best-selling books and movies. Only it’s not fictional anymore. You can find it at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter!
Everyone had a different answer. Or should I say “guess”, as many had only imagined trying the deliciousness one calls butterbeer?
I decided to try them ALL on my quest for the best butterbeer at Universal. In the name of RESEARCH of course! 🙂
UPDATED 2020 to include new options we have discovered and tried!
I’ll be sharing with you the results of our taste tests for all the food and drink, plus where to buy butterbeer, whether it has alcohol in it for those who are wondering if kids drink butterbeer, and even describe what butterbeer tastes like the best we can.
Where to Buy Butterbeer?
One didn’t need to look very far once entering The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The best news is that you can find it on both coasts – Universal Orlando and Universal Studios Hollywood. If you are heading out west, be sure to check out my Universal Studios Hollywood essential tips for first timers blog post.
Note: Universal Orlando has two different theme parks which house different sections of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. You can find the famed Harry Potter food and drink options in both theme parks.
It’s clear that this is a best-selling item from the long lines that would appear in the afternoon near the outdoor carts in Hogsmeade.
But never fear the long lines. I’ll let you know where else you can find everything.
Follow along on my quest for the best butterbeer!
Does Butterbeer have Alcohol?
The kids will be happy to hear that there is no alcohol. All can partake.
#1 Option – Cold Butterbeer
We spent two days at Universal Orlando, with a good chunk of that being inside The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. It’s important to note that all things Harry Potter are spread out between the two theme parks. I’ll be talking more about this later, but suffice it to say you want to experience both.
- Diagon Alley (Universal Studios theme park)
- Hogsmeade (Islands of Adventure theme park)
We headed to Hogsmeade first. Those staying at Universal Orlando resorts get in one hour earlier than the general public, a perk that extends to one park only, their choosing. That day, Islands of Adventure was the park to open early to resort guests. So Hogsmeade it was.
We were so awestruck by the setting, the rides, and our newly purchased interactive wand, that we didn’t even try butterbeer until dinner that evening after we had taken Hogswarts Express over to Universal Studios. We were thrilled with the anticipation of having dinner at The Leaky Cauldron in Diagon Alley. It did not disappoint.
Butterbeer #1 – Cold Butterbeer with dinner at The Leaky Cauldron (Diagon Alley).
Though I’m sure we would have enjoyed the cold butterbeer while walking through Hogsmeade, I’m so glad we waited for dinner. There was no better setting to enjoy our first than The Leaky Caudron. I mean we are talking about The Leaky Cauldron, right in the heart of Diagon Alley with a fire-breathing dragon and Gringotts Bank just outside. Perfection.
Paired with a shepherd’s pie, the cold butterbeer was very good. With carbonation and foam on the top, it easily reminded me of a cream soda and childhood.
There wasn’t a drop of the drink left. We were off to a good start.
#2 Option – Hot Butterbeer
The next morning we entered Islands of Adventure (one hour earlier again), and had breakfast at Three Broomsticks.
Deep inside Hogsmeade, Three Broomsticks is a rustic tavern that even has a pub in the back where a stuffed hog’s head likes to snarl at guests. Universal Orlando has brought something to life from the books and movies we love so well.
It was a chilly morning, the perfect time to try another type.
Butterbeer #2 – Hot Butterbeer with breakfast at Three Broomsticks (Hogsmeade)
Three Broomsticks had so many breakfast choices – American, Continental, Traditional English and more. But one thing we learned (though it wasn’t mentioned on the menu), a drink was included with your meal and two of the options were the famed pumpkin juice and BUTTERBEER!
Though I was adamant that my daughter have her milk with breakfast, my husband and I ordered the hot butterbeer.
It is completely different than its cold slightly carbonated counterpart. The hot drink is more like a butterscotch flavored hot chocolate, though I wish mine had been hotter. I’m not sure if it was due to the timing on our breakfast order, but mine was only warm. Perfect temperature for kids though.
Creamy deliciousness in a cup! Wonderful for those crisp Florida mornings before the sun beats down or late evenings when things are cooling off.
#3 Option – Butterbeer Ice Cream
Diagon Alley is a place to be seen! While I was full of emotion and nostalgia while walking through Hogsmeade, Diagon Alley was very different. How could it not be when there’s a dragon on top of a building breathing fire every so often? It was a place full of excitement and SHOPPING!
But there’s one place you don’t want to miss, just across from that dragon – Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour!
My family LOVES ice cream, so I knew in my heart that this butterbeer would be our favorite. Hmmm…was it?
The Ice Cream Parlour features a variety of ice cream treats, including soft-serve and hard pack ice cream. Strange flavors make an appearance too. Flavors spotted that day included Granny Smith, Orange Marmalade, Sticky Toffee Pudding, and Earl Grey & Lavender.
But we had a mission, so we ordered butterbeer ice cream. All 3 of us. In hindsight, I wish that one of us had ordered it, and the other two ordered some of the other crazy flavors.
Butterbeer ice cream is available as a soft-serve ice cream only and can be served in a cup, waffle cone, or in a souvenir glass.
Butterbeer #3 – Butterbeer Soft-Serve Ice Cream – Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour (Diagon Alley)
The ice cream had different options (with different price points too):
- Waffle Cone
- Souvenir Glass
Surprisingly to every single one of us, this ice cream was just too much, too sweet. Though I’m glad I tasted it and enjoyed some, this ended up being our least favorite butterbeer in the parks. We didn’t eat it all (and in fact some ended up in the trash I’m ashamed to say). I was shocked as my husband is quite the ice cream connoisseur and has NEVER not finished an ice cream. I’m hoping they’ll make it into a hard packed ice cream as maybe that would make a difference.
Recommendation: You must try butterbeer ice cream, but I’d recommend ordering just one to split among your group first. Try some of the other fun flavors – you won’t spot them anywhere else, right? This is Diagon Alley after all.
#4 Option – Frozen Butterbeer
Ahhhh, we come to our last type of butterbeer and one we waited until the very end to try.
(No, it’s not the last! It’s 2020 and we have added two more types)
It was our last night in Universal Orlando, and as we took one more stroll through Hogsmeade, we stopped by Three Broomsticks for the much talked about frozen butterbeer. Would it live up to the hype? Yes!
Butterbeer #4 – Frozen Butterbeer – grabbed a snack at the restaurant Three Broomsticks (Hogsmeade)
The frothy, frozen drink was butterscotch personified! Though it was a crisp, February night, I can only imagine how extra refreshing this would be on a hot summer day! I’m willing to visit again and try it out – all in the name of research, of course!
#5 Option – Fudge
A trip to Honeydukes is a must during any visit to Hogsmeade. You will be dazzled by a colorful array of magical treats in jars and bins, but head straightaway to the bakery counter for butterbeer fudge. The flavors here are delightful and not overpowering as some fudge can be.
Butterbeer #25 – Fudge at Honeydukes (Hogsmeade)
#6 Option – Potted Cream
An instant favorite is how I would describe the potted cream. Arriving in the cutest little mason type jar, it was similar to a pudding texture with a dash of whipped cream on top.
You can take home the jar too, though it is glass so be careful.
Butterbeer #6 – Potted Cream with a meal at Three Broomsticks (Hogsmeade)
Our research was done.
- *WINNER* Frozen Butterbeer
- *RUNNER UP* Hot Butterbeer (though my personal favorite)
- 3rd place Butterbeer Potted Cream
- 4th place Cold Butterbeer
- 5th place Butterbeer Fudge
- 6th place Butterbeer Ice Cream
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