The Harry Potter Compendium

"Why don't we go and have a butterbeer in the Three Broomsticks, it's a bit cold, isn't it?"
Hermione Granger inviting Harry Potter to the Three Broomsticks Inn.[src]

Butterbeer is a popular wizarding beverage described as tasting "a little bit like less-sickly butterscotch."[1]


Butterbeer is served cold in bottles and hot in "foaming tankards".[2] In Hogsmeade, it's sold at The Three Broomsticks[2] and The Hog's Head,[3] although the fact that the latter pub's stock was described as "very dusty" suggests that it was not sold there very often. In Diagon Alley, the drink has been known to be sold at the Leaky Cauldron.

At the Hog's Head, customers are charged two sickles per Butterbeer (£0.60 approximately),[3] but it is not certain whether this is a universal price for the drink, or if the price of the drink varies from location to location.

Alcoholic Content

It may have a very slight alcohol content, which could get house-elves in a drunk-like state,[4] though an antidote to this exists. It seems to have a less pronounced effect on humans than smaller creatures such as house-elves, but humans can still fall "under the influence" of it.[5][6] In 1996, Harry Potter wondered what Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger might do at Professor Horace Slughorn's Christmas Party "under the influence of Butterbeer",[5] indicating that it could lower inhibitions, perhaps like sugar. Winky, a house-elf, took to getting a drunk-like state off Butterbeer after losing her job with the Crouch family[4] — an addiction from which she never fully recovered.[7]

Behind the scenes

File:ButterBeer logo.JPG

A sign advertising Butterbeer.

  • Executive Chef of Universal Parks and Resorts, Steve Jayson commented that butterbeer is "Real comforting and nice and smooth going down".[8]
  • Butterbeer at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter can be served either cold with a taste similar to cream soda or frozen as a slush with a butterscotch-like foam on top. One may also purchase it either in a regular plastic cup or in a collectible mug. As of 12 December, 2012, over five million glasses of butterbeer have been served at the park, an event that was commemorated by the park giving away free butterbeers to one thousand guests that day.[9] Butterbeer is also served at The Making of Harry Potter.
  • Butterbeer may be based on Buttered Beer, which was a real drink. The earliest reference to Buttered Beer is from, 'The Good Huswifes Handmaide for the Kitchin' published in London in 1588 A.D., made from beer, sugar, eggs, nutmeg, cloves and butter back in Tudor times. Another old recipe for Buttered Beer, published by Robert May in 1664 A.D., from his recipe book, 'The Accomplisht Cook' calls for liquorish root and aniseeds to be added. British celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal recreated it for his Tudor Feast.


Notes and references