Hog’s Head Inn Butterbeer

6 12-ounce bottles chilled cream soda, or 1/2 recipe Homemade Cream Soda (see below)
1 tablespoon imitation butter flavor, or 2 tablespoons clarified butter (see below)
1 ounce light rum per serving for adults optional

2 cups heavy cream
6 tablespoons sugar, or splenda for sugar free version
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons imitation butter (if using clarified butter, double the amount to 3 teaspoons, or 1 tablespoon)

To make the butterbeer: Set out 6 16-ounce glasses. Place 1/2 teaspoon of imitation butter (or 1 teaspoon clarified butter) in each glass. Pour 12 ounces of cream soda into each glass, over the butter. Lightly stir, if necessary.

To make the foam: In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, whip the heavy cream on medium high speed for 3-4 minutes until it starts to thicken. Add the sugar and continue whipping until very soft peaks begin to form, another 3-4 minutes (if you need to whip more or less, then be sure to do so, the times can vary quite a bit based on environment). Stir in the vanilla and imitation butter (or clarified butter), then whip for another 30 seconds or so, until soft peaks form.

Spoon a generous portion of foam on top of each glass of butterbeer, mixing gently, if desired (or spoon the foam into the bottom of the glass and pour the butterbeer over the top). Serve immediately.

Substitute diet cream soda for a still yummy sugar-free version
Clarified butter does not always blend well with the cold beverage

Homemade Vanilla Cream Soda

2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup water
1 vanilla pod, split, or 1 to 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract (to taste)
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream (optional)
2 liters sparkling water (a.k.a. club soda)

In a medium saucepan set over medium high heat, stir together the sugar and water. Once combined, bring the mixture to a bowl, swirling gently as needed (do not stir it again until you add the vanilla). Boil until the mixture turns from cloudy white to perfectly clear, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

If using a vanilla bean, add it to the hot  syrup and allow to steep for about an hour. Remove the bean and seal in a zip top bag; store in your freezer to use for up to 3 more batches of vanilla cream syrup.

If using vanilla extract, stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons of extract, as desired.

Allow the syrup to cool to room temperature and transfer to an airtight container to refrigerate for future use.

To make the soda: Combine all of the syrup with the heavy cream (if using) and 2 liters of sparkling water. Serve chilled.

For individual servings: Combine 3 tablespoons of the syrup with 1 teaspoon of heavy whipping cream and 8 ounces of sparkling water. Serve chilled.

Makes 6 12-ounce servings

Clarified Butter

Unsalted butter, cut into cubes

  1. Heat the unsalted butter in a heavy-duty saucepan over very low heat, until it’s melted. Let simmer gently until the foam rises to the top of the melted butter. The butter may splatter a bit, so be careful.

  2. Once the butter stops spluttering, and no more foam seems to be rising to the surface, remove from heat and skim off the foam with a spoon. (It can be saved and added to soups, bread doughs, polenta, pilaf, or a bowl of warm oatmeal.)

Don’t worry about getting every last bit; you can remove the rest when straining it.

  1. Line a mesh strainer with a few layers of cheesecloth or gauze (in France, I use étamine, which is cotton muslin) and set the strainer over a heatproof container.

  2. Carefully pour the warm butter through the cheesecloth-lined strainer into the container, leaving behind any solids from the bottom of the pan.

Storage: Clarified butter will keep for 3 to 6 months in the refrigerator. Some say you can leave it at room temperature if the conditions are optimal, but I keep mine under refrigeration. It can also be frozen for a similar length of time.

Note: If you continue to cook the butter in step #2, it’ll turn a nutty-brown color and take on a pleasant aroma, which the French call beurre noisette, because of the nut-like smell and taste. You can use it right away as is, with or without the foam, and it’s wonderful drizzled over steamed vegetables.