Recipe Review

I Tried the Harry Potter-Inspired Butterbeer Ice Cream Float and It Left Me More Disappointed than I Expected

published Oct 30, 2022
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I Tried 'Harry Potter' Butterbeer Ice Cream Floats
Credit: Cheryl Fenton

When it comes to sweets and desserts, I wish I had a magic wand — a la Harry Potter — to conjure them up whenever I desire. What hope do us mere Muggles have of enjoying something even as simple as ice cream at home without owning an ice cream maker or making a trip to the store?

When People magazine put together a frosty version of the wizard’s butterscotch-flavored drink known as butterbeer — complete with a DIY caramel sauce and homemade ice cream (magically made without any churning) and mixed with cream soda, I was definitely ready to add this dessert to my spell … I mean… recipe book.  

The IRL butterbeer is made of just three ingredients — butterscotch, sugar, and water — and it’s actually served at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Parks & Resorts, Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, and Harry Potter New York. And with all the hype that it’s gained throughout the years, I wanted to see if this frozen dessert version could live up to its legendary counterpart.

How to Make Harry Potter Butterbeer Ice Cream Floats

This is a dairy-heavy treat, so lactose naysayers should walk away. It’s also a three-step process of freezing up homemade ice cream, heating up a caramel-like sauce, and the final prep of building up a float with your favorite cream soda.

Credit: Cheryl Fenton

The butterscotch is all about the dark brown sugar, unsalted butter, vanilla extract, and some heavy cream — heated up until the mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon as a goopy, delicious concoction known as butterbeer sauce. 

The ice cream is true to its name, made with heavy whipping cream and sweetened condensed milk whisked into thick peaks. Mix in your cooled butterbeer sauce and pour into a wax paper-lined loaf pan for an overnight freeze (don’t forget to get all aesthetic with a butterbeer swirl).

Floating to the top of the ingredient list is the tasty chilled cream soda — the final step in the dessert. Pour it into a mug, introduce it to a scoop of your homemade ice cream, and top it off with both a little whipped cream and a drizzle of the butterbeer sauce. It’s magic.

This isn’t a quick project (although active time is really only 15 minutes), but with overnight freezing time, you can have it ready for your next day’s wizard watching party.

Credit: Cheryl Fenton

My Honest Review of Harry Potter Butterbeer Ice Cream Floats

If a dessert is truly decadent, it’s definitely OK by me if it takes a little long to get to the finished product. This float, however, was just not worth the time or the hefty price tag once you add all the ingredients up. While the butterbeer sauce was tasty on its own, when mixed with the ice cream it lost some of its interest. You might be better served with just purchasing your favorite butterscotch syrup, ice cream, and cream soda for a simpler three-ingredient float. 

Tips for Making Harry Potter Butterbeer Ice Cream Floats

  1. Keep an eye on your butterbeer mixture. The butterbeer mixture starts to boil pretty quickly, so be sure to stir it to prevent burning. Medium-low heat is where it’s at.
  2. Cool it down. Make sure the caramel-like sauce is completely cooled before pouring it into the whipping cream peaks. If not, you’ll be looking at a separated, soupy mess.
  3. Make it pretty for the picture. The last step is to drizzle the extra sauce into empty glasses for Instagram-worthy, pretty displays. Warm up the sauce first (15 seconds did the trick) for its best consistency.
  4. Take one final look. I found that the waxed paper stuck to the ice cream in certain spots, so be sure to check for paper before plopping it into the soda.

If you would rather have your ice cream in a sandwich (sort of), try this Ice Cream Sandwich Milk Shake instead.