There’s seven types of Butterbeer drinks and treats at Universal Orlando Resort. I tried them all so you don’t have to (unless you want to).
As a muggle-born, I’m not much for magic, but I’m an absolute wizard at downing sweets and treats. Rather than a wand, I armed myself with a straw and a spoon to try every type of Butterbeer on my most recent visit to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando.
Butterbeer—the popular beverage wizards and witches often indulge in when visiting Hogsmeade Village in the Harry Potter series—was brought to life by Universal Orlando’s culinary team. When the Wizarding World first opened in 2010, only frozen and cold Butterbeer options were available.
Now, there are seven different varieties of Butterbeer and one of the most popular is only available during the holiday season and I worked my way through every single one. Thanks to my hard work, I now present you with a definitive, very scientific ranking of every type of Butterbeer you can find at Universal Orlando.
7. Butterbeer Fudge
If you love Butterbeer and you love fudge then you may enjoy this treat, but I found the sweetness overpowered any actual Butterbeer flavor. According to Universal Orlando’s official blog, the bottom layer is meant to have a butterscotch flavor and the thinner top layer, a shortbread flavor. Each layer did have its own distinct taste, but the shortbread layer tasted more like white chocolate to me and it just didn’t hit me with that unique Butterbeer essence I love. If you want to give it a try, you can find this treat at Honeyduke’s in Hogsmeade and Sugarplum’s Sweet Shop in Diagon Alley.
INSIDER TIPIf, like me, this doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, both shops have a ton of other Harry Potter-themed treats. I recommend the Cauldron Cake or the Peanut Butter Chocolate Fudge.
6. Cold Butterbeer
When the Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened at Universal Orlando in 2010, cold Butterbeer was one of the two Butterbeer options available in the land (the other was frozen). The taste of cold Butterbeer isn’t too different from hot or frozen, but the experience of drinking it is. It does have a bubbly effervescence and a top layer of foam that make it fun to drink, but it doesn’t feel as special as the other two Butterbeer beverages. For that, it ranks at the bottom of the list of drinkable Butterbeer. Cold Butterbeer is easy to find; you can get it at Butterbeer street carts found on both sides of the land, the Leaky Cauldron and The Hopping Pot in Diagon Alley, and in Hogsmeade at Three Broomsticks and Hog’s Head.
5. Butterbeer Soft Serve
Butterbeer soft serve ice cream is made by swirling vanilla soft serve with ribbons of Butterbeer. It is gorgeously Instagrammable when served in either a waffle cone or souvenir Harry Potter (plastic) glass, but the flavor of this icy cold treat doesn’t hold up when you compare it to some of the other available varieties of Butterbeer. What’s more, the menu at Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour–the best place for ice cream in the Wizarding World–boasts more interesting flavors like Earl Grey & Lavender and Sticky Toffee Pudding that are hard to pass up.
INSIDER TIPIf you want to try multiple types of Butterbeer in one-stop, hit up The Hopping Pot in Diagon Alley. You can get a cup of Butterbeer soft serve and a sippable Butterbeer to go with it.
4. Butterbeer Ice Cream
The profile of hard-packed Butterbeer ice cream is similar to the soft serve, with a vanilla base and swirls of butterscotch flavor. What bumped it up a spot above soft serve was that it lasted a little bit longer in the hot Florida sun. Find it at various snack carts throughout the Wizarding World.
3. Hot Butterbeer
Along with cold, hot Butterbeer is one of two versions of the popular drink that is actually mentioned in the Harry Potter books (though if Universal was staying true to canon, Butterbeer would have a slight alcoholic content). Hot Butterbeer is also extra special because it’s only available during the holiday season. The warmth of hot Butterbeer really brings out the caramel and shortbread flavors; it has a pleasant bubbly tingle on the tongue, and the foam gives you an adorable Butterbeer mustache. Get it at the Leaky Cauldron or The Hopping Pot in Diagon Alley and in Hogsmeade at Three Broomsticks and Hog’s Head.
2. Butterbeer Potted Cream
As far as Butterbeer desserts go, this is by far my favorite. Potted cream is a traditional British dessert, but this version has a Harry Potter twist. Served in a small jar, this treat is smooth, creamy, not-too-sweet, and almost too adorable to eat. It’s a bit like a lightly-flavored butterscotch pudding with a dollop of whipped cream on top. Try it for yourself at the Leaky Cauldron at Diagon Alley, or Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade.
INSIDER TIPThis dessert is layered with a sweet, buttery sauce, which I most enjoyed after stirring it into the cream.
1. Frozen Butterbeer
If you’ve made it this far, you know there’s only one type of Butterbeer left and that is frozen Butterbeer. Why does frozen Butterbeer earn the top spot on my list? Well, it has a little bit of everything I love about every other version of Butterbeer. Because it’s blended with ice, it’s less sweet and more refreshing than cold Butterbeer and it still has the effervescent bite I enjoy. Unlike cold Butterbeer, it’s served with a straw so you can get some of the foam topping with each sip or mix it into the frosty drink. Like cold and hot Butterbeer, the frozen version is available anywhere Butterbeer is sold.
INSIDER TIPIf you want to commemorate your Butterbeer eating (and drinking) marathon like I did, ask for your cold or frozen Butterbeer in a souvenir mug. Consider it a trophy for your hard work.