Looking for something fun and different — with a touch of nerdiness — to serve at your holiday party? Lucky for you barman Christopher Day (Bar Tribute, Redbird) created this recipe for a boozy butterbeer. Your Harry Potter-loving guests will squeal.
It’s no coincidence that this recipe uses a butter-washed Black Cow Vodka as Chris is the California brand ambassador for the vodka. But I had asked him to come up with a holiday cocktail using the vodka, which is my favorite for its smoothness and surprising creaminess. Seriously, try it in a White Russian. Better yet, sip it while enjoying a cheese plate. So perfect together as it’s made from milk.
I was supposed to batch this up for an office Christmas party but then realized that such a cocktail would be lost on my co-workers, who ended up flocking to the wine and beer anyway. Instead I’m saving this baby for my family’s Christmas party. They’re huuge Harry Potter fans. Plus they wouldn’t judge me if I put away too many of these.
The great thing about Chris’ butterbeer is not only does it have a lot of booze — vodka, sherry, vanilla liqueur and beer — but it’s not disgustingly sweet like the nonalcoholic versions you find on the internet. Yes, it involves your having to butter-wash the vodka but that process is actually not hard. The “most difficult” step would probably be browning the butter. I’m still scared of burning it! Check out my video below where Chris shows just how to do it.
How To Butter-Wash Vodka
1 bottle (750mL) Black Cow Vodka
3. Pour the browned butter into the container with the vodka (careful of splash-back).
5. Stick sealed container in freezer overnight (about 10 hours) to allow fats to solidify and congeal.
It’s best to pre-batch the cocktail in one bottle and keep it chilled til you serve it. I forgot to chill the beer, too, and the cocktail came out kind of lukewarm after I made it for my family. Don’t make my mistake! For party time pour 1.5 ounces in a 8-to-10-ounce glass, then top it with Old Speckled Hen or Boddington’s beer.
3 parts butter-washed vodka
2 parts cream sherry (recommended: Alvear or Lustau East India)
1 part (can even be less) Giffard vanille (or Licor 43 if you can’t find Giffard)
Add orange bitters to taste
Don’t Want to DIY Butterbeer?
For those who don’t want to make this themselves Chris will be serving his butterbeer cocktails at Bar Tribute in Sherman Oaks from now til the end of the year.
By the way, Brynn Smith at Sotto also makes a great butterbeer cocktail but hers is a bottled beauty made with housemade butterscotch liqueur (Tito’s vodka and real vanilla bean simple syrup) and served with Angostura bitters whip cream.