Something happens to most Swedes when the nights start getting longer and everything get darker. We start longing for the Swedish Christmas soft drink called Julmust (Lit: Christmas ‘juice’). A ‘must’ is the Swedish word for a type of fermented juice, although non-alcoholic.
Julmust was invented in 1922 as an alternative to the dark porters often drunk at the winter time. The original recipe stems from Germany. It was invented by a chap called Harry Roberts – and the original very secret recipe is still safeguarded by the family company that launched it first.
All Julmust brands taste slightly differently – and the two biggest brands (Apotekeren and Nygårda) are the ones that mostly divide people in taste. We stock Nygårda at ScandiKitchen.
When the festive season comes along, sales of Coca Cola in Sweden drop by around 50% as people choose Julmust instead. It’s a bit like a mixture between root-beer and Coca Cola – and rather sweet. Because its only available late Autumn and Christmas, people often over-indulge*. Obviously miffed by the reduction in sales, CocaCola even tried to make their own kind, but it tanked.
If you want to make friends with a Swede, often buying them a few bottles of this at the beginning of the season will make you very popular. They may even marry you**. Don’t buy Julmust for the Norwegians or the Danes: They don’t drink it. This is a very Swedish thing.
*you can also get it at Easter, but then it’s called Påsk(Easter)Must.
** We cannot guarantee this.