For any Harry Potter fans visiting Universal Studios, butterbeer tasting has to be on your list of things to do. But with six different kinds of butterbeer available (one of them is only sold during fall and winter – sorry summer visitors) how can you choose which one to spend your hard-earned cash on? Well, you could be like me and spend the whole day sampling all of them, spend way more money than you should, and risk making yourself sick from all the sugar. Or, you could read this ranking of every type of butterbeer in Harry Potter World and save yourself some cash and calories by planning accordingly.
When my friend and I began Butterbeer Quest on my most recent visit to Universal Studios Florida, I’d already tried three different kinds of butterbeer, so I already had a rough idea of where those fell in my rankings, but I still ordered one of each throughout the day. And that wasn’t just for science – though they were dethroned by my new favorite #1, they still occupy spots 2 and 3 on the list, and I wouldn’t have skipped them for the world. Keep on reading for info on all the different Harry Potter butterbeer options, where to find them, and how much they cost.
And in case you’re wondering, I can handle my sugar with the best of them, so I survived Butterbeer Quest with no ill effects or even a stomachache. All while riding every non-kiddie coaster in the two parks, each Harry Potter ride twice, and walking 11 miles. And starting the day with a Voodoo donut from Citywalk.
Note: This post contains affiliate links, and should you choose to make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.
What is butterbeer?
If you’re asking yourself that question, I’m going to assume you never read the Harry Potter books. But for those of us who grew up reading them, butterbeer is the iconic beverage of the wizarding world created by J.K. Rowling. Sure, there are other drinks mentioned in the books (you can try pumpkin juice at the parks too!), but butterbeer is #1 in my mind and one of the things I was most looking forward to when the Wizarding World of Harry Potter first opened. I could just picture myself sitting in the Three Broomsticks knocking back a couple of butterbeers with the gang on a relaxing visit before the world got even darker. But even if you didn’t read the books or fall in love with the story, you’ll still enjoy a nice butterbeer. The drinks (and other options) are good enough that you’d enjoy them with absolutely no context. The general consensus is that butterbeer tastes a bit like cream soda with some butterscotch flavor, and while I don’t love either of those individually, when mixed together, they’re pretty amazing.
#6 – Butterbeer fudge
This is the only variant of Universal Studios butterbeer that I actively disliked. I grew up visiting Mackinac Island (famous for its fudge for those of you who haven’t visited), so I know good fudge when I taste it. And this just wasn’t. It had a chalky consistency and the butterscotch flavor tasted chemically and weird. By the time I took the photo of it in front of the Hogwarts Express for this article, I already knew it was destined for the trash. I gave my friend a bite and she shared my opinion that it was pretty bad. However, I would like to point out that it’s the only kind of butterbeer that you could reasonably take home to friends and family so if you know someone who really really really really wants to try some, you could bring them a piece of it.
Where to buy butterbeer fudge: You can pick up some fudge (or some other incredible Harry Potter themed desserts) at Honeydukes in Hogsmeade or Sugarplum’s Sweetshop in Diagon Alley.
#5 – Butterbeer potted cream
This one was the wild card in the mix. I had no idea what to expect from it and have to admit that the name potted cream sounded a little gross. But, I dutifully ordered it with my lunch at the Three Broomsticks because I was fully committed to the Butterbeer Quest. It wasn’t exactly what I expected – I thought it would be more pudding-y (in the American sense, not the British), but it actually had the consistency of stiff whipped cream or frosting. I liked the flavor of it and the cute little jar it came in, but it was so overwhelmingly sweet that I couldn’t get through more than half of my little jar. And I can handle my sugar. I’m the kind of person who will eat frosting straight from the bowl. My friend actually liked it better than I did. If you decide to try it, I’d recommend getting it to share. There’s no way I could’ve finished a whole serving by myself.
Where to get butterbeer potted cream: You can purchase this at either the Three Broomsticks restaurant or Leaky Cauldron.
#4 Cold butterbeer
I could easily declare the remaining four kinds of butterbeer winners in a four-way tie for #1, but my job here is to make the hard decisions and I’m going to rank them if it kills me. I take butterbeer journalism seriously. The classic, cold butterbeer is slightly fizzy and is served with a delicious foamy topping and it’s good. It’s very good. It doesn’t deserve to be in the bottom half of a list, but when there are only six options, it’s unavoidable. Out of all of the flavors here, it actually tastes the most authentic. So why rank it so low? Keep on reading to find out.
Where to get cold butterbeer: It makes the perfect beverage to accompany a meal at the Leaky Cauldron in Diagon Alley or the Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade. It’s also available from the butterbeer carts in Hogsmeade and the Hopping Pot and Fountain of Fair Fortune in Diagon Alley.
#3 – Frozen butterbeer
This was probably the toughest call on the whole list, but frozen butterbeer edged out regular butterbeer by the slimmest of margins. Why, you ask? Because of the general climate at Universal Studios Orlando. While I think the regular butterbeer tastes closer to what I imagined in the books, on a ridiculously hot and humid Central Florida day, the frozen butterbeer reigns supreme as a refreshing beverage. It has the same delicious foamy topping, but the Slurpee-like texture will cool you off in no time. It’s also slightly less sweet than the regular cold butterbeer. I hadn’t noticed it before as I generally don’t have more than one kind per day, but it was much more apparent drinking them back to back like I did in Butterbeer Quest.
Where to buy frozen butterbeer: Like the cold butterbeer, you can grab it with a meal at the Leaky Cauldron in Diagon Alley or the Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade. It’s also available from the butterbeer carts in Hogsmeade and the Fountain of Fair Fortune and the Hopping Pot in Diagon Alley.
#2 – Butterbeer ice cream
The first time I tried the delicious soft serve butterbeer ice cream, I was in love. With its sweet butterbeer swirls and rich, creamy, silky smooth texture, it’s easily the best soft serve ice cream I’ve ever had. There’s a reason that the queue for Florean Fortescue’s stretches out the door for most of the day. Sure the ice cream parlor has other flavors – some of their regular ice cream actually sounds pretty darn tasty – but passing up a chance to indulge in this incredible butterbeer soft serve while exploring some of the famous spots from the Harry Potter books is just too much to ask from me.
Where to get butterbeer ice cream: The classic location is Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour in Diagon Alley, but it’s also available at the Hopping Pot in Universal Studios. On the Islands of Adventure side, you can order it at the Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade.
#1 – Hot butterbeer
Sorry summer visitors, this one is only available in the fall and winter. I had no idea what to expect from it, but it was absolutely amazing. We happened to pick a winter day that hit the 80s, so there really wasn’t a need for the hot butterbeer that evening, but I’ve definitely been at the parks on much chillier nights when a hot drink would’ve been very welcome. It has a delicious butterbeer flavor without being too sweet. The closest thing I can liken it to is white hot chocolate with some butterscotch flavor. If you’re lucky enough to visit during the winter, you won’t want to miss this seasonal treat. It’s just that good.
Where to buy hot butterbeer: Hot butterbeer is only available during the colder months at the Leaky Cauldron and Three Broomsticks.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is butterbeer alcoholic?
Nope! Despite having beer in the name, it’s alcohol-free and kid-friendly. I’ve seen a lot of people asking, “Does butterbeer have alcohol?” in various forums, but you can rest assured that it isn’t. Of course, if you’re looking for something boozy in Harry Potter World, I’d recommend the Fire Whisky. It’s not cheap, but it’s really good and has the perfect light cinnamon flavor. And that’s coming from someone who likes neither regular whiskey nor Fireball. My friend who also hates Fireball concurred. There are also three exclusive beers offered in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter areas. Hog’s Head brew, a red ale, is sold at the Hog’s Head connected to the Three Broomsticks restaurant in Hogsmeade. Diagon Alley has two exclusive brews – the sweet stout Wizard’s Brew and Dragon Scale amber lager – sold at the Leaky Cauldron, Hopping Pot, and Fountain of Fair Fortune.
How much is butterbeer?
The cost varies from item to item so check each section for the price (all are pre-tax), but here’s the total of what I spent on my six butterbeers on December 30, 2018: $37.21. Yep, I spent about $40 on various forms of butterbeer that day, but I don’t have any regrets.
Where can I buy butterbeer?
Each item in the rankings is offered at different locations in the two Universal Orlando parks. Check out their sections to find out exactly where to find them. In general, you’ll want to head to one of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter areas at the parks to find them and once you’re there it’s hard not to stumble across butterbeer options. Hogsmeade, the original Harry Potter area, is located in Islands of Adventure, and Diagon Alley is located in Universal Studios. The two areas are connected by the Hogwarts Express train, though you can only ride this attraction if you have park-to-park tickets.
How much do I love butterbeer? When I got home, I missed it so much that I ordered this butterbeer flavored tea on Etsy. It lacks the sweetness that the “real” butterbeer at Universal Studios, but the butterscotch chips mixed in give it a smooth hint of the flavor I know and love right in my own home. It’s become my weekend morning go-to tea since it arrived.
Get discounted Harry Potter World tickets!
If you’re ready to visit Universal Studios Florida, I’d recommend ordering tickets through Undercover Tourist. They’re official partners and some of the few legit discount tickets you’ll find. I used them for this trip to Universal Orlando, as well as my last few visits to Disney World. Check them out and save a few bucks – you’ll be able to put that money to good use drinking your way through the different butterbeer options or buying yourself a wand.
Check out these other guides to my favorite Florida attractions:
- The Grown-Up’s Guide to Disney World for Adults
- Everything You Need to Know to Visit Kennedy Space Center
- Paddle Around Glowing Jellyfish While Bioluminescence Kayaking in Florida
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