‘The Wizarding World of Harry Potter!”
That’s what was shouted, by me, several months ago when my husband asked for summer vacation suggestions. Luckily, the kids were on board with the idea right away.
Three against one. Democracy is great.
Honestly, we all had a great time at Universal Orlando. Two parks with numerous rides and attractions encompass this family-friendly getaway, but most visitors are there for The Boy Who Lived.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened in June 2010. Designed to look like Hogsmeade, the only all-wizarding world village in Britain, the attraction makes you feel like you’re in Potter’s world, if only for a little bit. And what better way to enjoy your visit than sipping on a favorite wizard treat: Butterbeer.
Don’t let the name fool you. There’s no alcohol in this cool drink. Sweet and foamy, Butterbeer tastes like butterscotch candies — in liquid form. Two versions are available for purchase: cold and frozen. Both sounded perfect on a hot July afternoon, so we bought one of each and had a taste test.
My son liked cold. My daughter preferred frozen. I couldn’t choose — both were great.
(Did I mention it was 98 degrees and nearly 100 percent humidity that day?)
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is located at Universal Orlando’s Islands of Adventure Park. On July 8, the attraction’s expansion — Diagon Alley — opened at Universal Studios Florida, with visitors traveling between the two parks on the Hogwarts Express.
We were back in Iowa before Diagon Alley’s grand opening, but we were lucky to be part of the soft opening the week before. Fans of the books and movies know that Diagon Alley is the shopping destination for all witches and wizards — more opportunities to purchase Butterbeer.
Of course, you don’t have to go to Florida to try this creamy concoction. Several Butterbeer copycat recipes are available online, including this one published by the Huffington Post in 2010. It’s a bit more involved than other recipes, but it has an authentic taste, so the additional steps are worth it.
If only we all had magic wands to help us in the kitchen.
Makes 4 servings
•1 cup light or dark brown sugar
•2 tablespoons water
•6 tablespoon butter
•1/2 teaspoon salt
•1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar
•3/4 cup heavy cream, divided
•1/2 teaspoon rum extract
•Four 12-ounce bottles cream soda
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine brown sugar and water. Bring to a gentle boil and cook, stirring often, until the mixture reads 240 degrees on a candy thermometer.
Stir in the butter, salt, vinegar and 1/4 heavy cream. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
Once the mixture has cooled, stir in the rum extract.
In a medium bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of the brown sugar mixture and the remaining 1/2 cup of heavy cream.
Use an electric mixer to beat until just thickened, but not completely whipped, about 2 to 3 minutes.
To serve, divide the brown sugar mixture between four tall glasses (about 1/4 cup for each glass).
Add 1/4 cup of cream soda to each glass, and then stir to combine. Fill each glass nearly to the top with additional cream soda, then spoon the whipped topping over each.