Butterbeer or “Buttered beere”, as it was written in 1594, has been around for many centuries. In the Tudor era, beer was the typical drink. A weak ale known as small beer, was drunk by everyone, even children as the water was often not deemed safe to drink, as waterways were known to be contaminated and made people sick.

A mix of beer, butter, sugar, spices and egg are the basis for this recipe, found in “The Good Huswifes Handmaide for the Kitchin.”


yields 1 large beer stein


total cook time: an hour or so

  1. Pour the ale into a saucepan. To keep it from ‘exciting’ (foaming up), angle the saucepan and gently pour the ale down the side into the pan.
  2. Stir in the 1 tsp of spices.
  3. Gently heat until it comes to a boil, then lower the heat straight away and let simmer for a few minutes.
  4. In these few minutes, whisk together the yolks and sugar.
  5. Remove from the heat, let sit for a few minutes to bring the heat down, then add in the yolks and sugar to the ale.
  6. Whisk until the sugar has dissolved and let simmer for 3-5 minutes.
  7. Stir in the butter until fully mixed in.
  8. With a hand blender, froth the ale until foam forms. Let sit to cool.
  9. Using a spoon, hold back the froth as you pour the butterbeer into the beer stein. Leave about an inch of room on the top, spoon on the froth and serve.
Bryton Taylor, Food In Literature