This weekend I spent a good chunk of time over a pot of boiling soda, mixing sugar into the already sugary drink and taste testing nonstop. Why, you ask? For you, my lovely readers. For today I bring you a new segment. Cooking from books. (Still working on the name . . .). Anyhows, I thought I’d start off by testing some butterbeer recipes (if you don’t know what fandom that comes from, please visit your local library immediately) and listing off my favorite one.

First off, a warning. I’m not someone who follows recipes. I look at them as measurement and ingredient suggestions. If you follow these recipes exactly, it could be terrible. It could be delicious. I encourage you to improvise, because, big secret, I have no idea how much brown sugar I put in my drink. I just added it until it looked done. I’ve tried my hardest to guesstimate the amounts of everything, but I might’ve done it terribly. Solution: taste test often and thoughtfully, if only because the process of taking cold cream soda and turning it into hot butterbeer is kind of magic in itself. Seriously. Get out the spoons.

I’m going to show you two recipes, one being fabulous but possibly not quite authentic and the other being more butterscotchy but less delicious. Both of them are (very) loosely based on the hot, nonalcoholic butterbeer recipe found on Popsugar, which found that on a vaguely linked forum called The Leaky Lounge.

Butterbeer Recipe #1 without foamFor #1, the amazing one, you’re going to need:

– 12 oz. of cream soda (quality doesn’t matter here; we really just want a liquid that has sugar prepacked into it)
– Brown sugar
– Werther’s Originals (I used the squishy ones, I don’t know how well the hard ones would work, but like I said, improvise)
– Butter (quality is important here, get your favorite kind. I recommend Kerrygold, which is fabulous and irish)
– Optional butter flavoring (you can find this at craft/baking stores for about $4 a bottle)

Cooking this is incredibly simple, but watch out for the hot and sticky caramels and sugar. As I mentioned, the final product is kind of a caramel-butterbeer hybrid, but it is absolutely delicious. Also, to make it look pretty, there’s a recipe for foam to put on top at the end of this post. You’ll want to make that first, and let it sit while you make the butterbeer.

1. Pour the cream soda into a pan and warm it up. Really slosh it around without worrying about the carbonation, it’s not important. Taste it.
2. Drop in 2-4 tablespoons (or less or more, depending on what your taste test tells you) of brown sugar. Stir it in until you can’t see it. Taste now. Much, much better than the original cream soda, yeah?
3. Cut 1-2 tablespoons of butter into thinish slices, and put those in the pan. Stir until you can’t see any chunks. There should be a buttery, foamy layer on the top. Don’t worry if there isn’t. Taste now. Flavor changed again, right?
4. Now would be the time to add the butter flavoring if you want. ADD SPARINGLY. There is nothing worse than messing up your drink by pouring in too much artificial flavoring. As previously mentioned, this is completely optional. I just happened to have some around the house and decided to pump up the butter taste of the drink. It also didn’t make that much of a difference.
5. Take some of the hot butterbeer and put it in a bowl (maybe 3 tablespoons, not too much). Line up 3-4 Werther’s originals in the bottom, and pour more hot liquid on top, enough to completely submerge all of the caramels. Melt these together in a microwave in 10-second bouts, stirring thoroughly in between. Some people say that you can toss the candy directly into the hot pan, but I think that it works much better to melt it and then mix it in.
6. Add the melted caramel mix and stir.
7. CAREFULLY pour the hot butterbeer into your chosen drinking vessel, and top with the foam you have cleverly prepared beforehand, if that’s the way you want to go. (I like it without the foam, but I also like it with the foam. There really isn’t a bad way to drink this stuff).
8. Taste test until you’ve drunk it all.

Butterbeer Recipe #2 with foamFor Recipe #2, authentic but less tasty, you’ll need:

– 12 oz. cream soda
– Brown sugar
– Butterscotch pudding mix (I like Jello brand, but use whatever floats your boat)
– Butter

This drink is made with pudding mix, obviously, and it makes it really thick. I couldn’t finish my 4oz serving, and had to eat it with a spoon. When you’re adding the pudding mix, remember that as it cools it’s going to set and get even thicker, so go as light as will taste good to you.

1. Pour the cream soda into a pan and warm it up.
2. Stir in the brown sugar, but use 1 or 2 tablespoons this time.
3. Mix in about 1 tablespoon of butter and make sure it’s melted.
4. Add the butterscotch pudding mix. I used 4-5 tablespoons, but you should do it a tiny bit at a time and practice your taste testing.
5. Pour it into your mugs/cups/impermeable hats and top with the foam that, again, you’ve cleverly preprepared.
6. Drink. Or possibly eat with a spoon. It’s probably more of a desert food than a beverage at this point.

Butterbeer Recipe #1 with foamLastly, here’s the recipe for the foam, lightly adapted from The Disney Diner. You’ll need:

– Whipping cream
– Butterscotch Pudding mix
– Confectioner’s sugar (aka powdered sugar)

1. Mix the confectioner’s sugar with the whipping cream in a 2 parts cream : 1 part sugar ratio (I used approximately 1/2 cup cream and 1/4 sugar). Use a whisk to lightly mix.
2. Add in about 1 tablespoon of the pudding mix, using your expert taste testing skills to decide when to stop.
3. Stir it with the whisk until it’s got some texture. Lots of people say to whip it until it makes stiff peaks, but that makes it a sort of helmet above the butterbeer you’ve worked so hard on, which isn’t good.
4. Carefully pour into the middle of your glass. Don’t be afraid if it looks like it’s going to majorly mix with the butterbeer, it will float back up, I promise.