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FRESH In: Swedish Christmas Soda

For the holidays, we’ve been bringing in all kinds of seasonal favorites from around the world – including some you’ve probably never tried before. Like Grandpa Lundquist’s Christmas Soda, a very popular holiday drink in Sweden.

Grandpa Lundquist’s soda is a type of julmust, which combines the Swedish words for Christmas (jul) and juice (must). This soft drink was invented in Sweden about 100 years ago as an alternative to alcoholic beer.

Julmust contains things we don’t usually find in soft drinks sold in this country, including the flavors of hops, barley and malt. (But don’t worry. Grandpa Lundquist’s soda is not fermented, so it’s completely non-alcoholic. It is caffeine-free and made with 100 percent pure cane sugar, however.)

The unusual-to-us flavors give Grandpa Lundquist’s a taste that is really unlike other sodas. It’s a little bit like root beer, a little like a spiced cola.

The best description I heard was from one of our taste-testers when we opened up a couple of bottles the other day: “Sweet, like Christmas candy. Like ribbon candy with some fizz.”

Others detected a faint grape flavor, or even a raisiny undertone. One person wished aloud for some spiced rum, to make a holiday-inspired rum-and-Grandpa Lundquist.

The complex fIavor has made julmust highly popular in Sweden, where it is  bottled and sold only during the holidays. In keeping with this tradition, we’ll have Grandpa Lundquist in stock only through the Christmas season, too.