Review: Julmust Christmas Soda

Here at, we're proud to feature this guest review by beverage enthusiast Jason Steele. He previously reviewed NuGrape Soda in September 2008. We hope you enjoy his thoughts!

Julmust Christmas Soda has a long history of reviewing holiday themed beverages. Most fall into the gimmicky flavored Jones Sodas like Christmas Ham and Christmas Tree; something to pique your curiosity but not satisfy your taste buds. Recently while strolling through my local World Market (think giant Pier1 but with specialty foods from all over the world) I came across Julmust Christmas Soda. Pronounced "yule-must"). Jul is Swedish for Yule, which means Christmas. The name intrigued me because it isn't suggesting you have a pleasant Christmas, it insists! Jul MUST!

Julmust is made by Guttsta Källa and features a drawing of Santa stirring up some sort of brew – the soda I assume. It was developed in 1910 as a non-alcoholic alternative to beer; which is interesting because it looks a lot like a thick winter ale – which makes sense because it is made with hops and malt from barley.

From their website (which does not contain much English) it states: "Nestled in the quiet Swedish countryside, in the area known as Bergslagen, lays the tiny village of Guttsta and Guttsta Källa AB where water has been tapped from its spring since 1895." Guttsta Källa uses this same natural spring water to make its Julmust soda which is available exclusively during the Christmas season. According to Wikipedia, 45 million litres of Julmust is consumed each December, which is a lot considering that there are only 9 million people in Sweden, and outsells Coca-Cola during the Christmas Season which prompted Coca-Cola to produce its own Christmas soda called Bjäre julmust". Pepsi tried their own hand here in the U.S. with Pepsi Holiday Spice back in 2004 and reviewed here on BevReview.

Enough about the history, how does it look and taste?

The soda has a very deep, almost black, color to it. Compare that to Coke or Pepsi which are more of a deep tan. It really looks like Guinness or a similar thick beer. The drink is very carbonated and when I poured it into the glass I could only get 1/3 of it in before it almost overflowed. The bubbles are so tiny and compact that the head rose very quickly and nearly ran all over the place. I was anxious to taste is and dove right in which resulted in a sticky foam mustache on my upper lip – the mark of a great soda, in my opinion.

The scent of Julmust was hard to determine. The ingredients only state the aforementioned "natural hops, natural malt (from barley)" and natural flavors – which could honestly be anything from molasses to herring for all we know. Their site says it's a well-guarded secret family recipe so the world many never find out. I thought it smelled like molasses and some mystery spices: perhaps cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice? As someone who tends to describe smells as colors, it smelled like purple.

When the foam subsided a lot of it clung to the sides of the glass. A sommelier will tell you that when it comes to wine this means it has "great legs". I am not sure if there is a term for it in the cola world but I will assume it is a good thing.

Now for the taste – it has a very pleasant, cozy, warming flavor. If you could bottle the Christmas spirit, carbonate it, and sell it, it might taste like this: deep cola, mild dark cherry, a hint of ginger, perhaps a bit of cacao. It's what I imagine Vikings would have consumed from an oak barrel during the Norman Conquest of 1066.

Julmust purchased from IKEA during Christmas 2007

This holiday if you are in Sweden or a World Market or even an IKEA, I recommend picking up a bottle of Julmust Christmas Soda and enjoying it with a bowl of freshly popped corn while watching your favorite Christmas movie. God Jul!

Nutritional Information
8 oz. – 90 calories, 0 fat.


Julmust Christmas Soda
Ingredients: Carbonated water, sugar, natural color (caramel), natural hops flavor, natural malt flavors (from barley), citric acid, natural and artificial flavors, sodium benzoate (preservative).

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  1. The kids just had some tonight for New Years Eve, and I tasted it and in horror thought — Uh Oh, I just gave my 10 year old, 12 year old and their friends something with alcohol! Yikes! I saw it has malt flavor, but hopefully no alcohol. It sure smells boozy. Well, the kids aren't acting any more kooky than kids on New Yrs Eve would. Thanks for the review!

  2. Ikea sells this during Christmas. Goes great with Swedish meatballs! :)


  3. bigboneded says:

    If Swedish Vikings were drinking this during the Norman invasion, they would have been doing so while watching the Norman invasion at home on their big screens. You see, it was the Normans…from Normandy…France…who perpetrated the 1066 invasion of the English. Otherwise, great review. A friend gave me a bottle and was unimpressed , to say the least, but you make me wanna drink it. Thanks.

  4. I liked it…I just picked it up today on a whim while buying some other things at Cost Plus World Market……nice label, makes me ready for Christmas although it is a month away….I think I will go back and buy a few more bottles and let some of my friends try it!

  5. Im drinking Nygårda Julmust right now and you MUST drink it during nov-jan :D im from sweden btw

  6. There is only one JULMUST in Sweden and its the GUTTSTA JULMUST from the town Kolsva in the Valley of the lake Mälaren.
    So if you are somewhere near Stockholm you can buy this GUTTSTA from ordinary food shops or markets…

  7. At first to me, it tasted and smelled like a rum and coke, then like flat root beer, then…just not very good. Won't stop me from trying something new next visit!

  8. First off, great review! I've been trying to find it for a while, so thanks for pointing out a couple places to check. Secondly, if we have to nitpick, bigboneded, at least be sure you're correct. Steve was right–the Norse (hence Norsemen, Normans, Normandy, etc) took over and settled that part of France and then went on to conquer England under Canute (or Cnut/Knut) the Great.

  9. I'm from Sweden too, but I live in the UK. If you don't live near an IKEA Julmust is hella expensive here…so any ideas on where to get it would be awesome. I always drink the Apotekarnes Julmust which, if I'm right, was bought out by Carlsberg. I must get through about 2 litres of this stuff a day when I go home for Christmas and Easter (Påskmust- pretty much the same thing, but for Easter)… Nice review…. I agree with the 'rum and coke smell' … it smells a bit like Morgan's spiced rum and coke…and tastes a little like that and the green Bilar candy mixed together!

  10. So gross!! Don't drink it! Yuck!

  11. I have to say I absolutely love this soda!!! Some may not like the taste but I think It is delicious!!I did kind of find it hard not to believe it was not wine or beer though!

  12. Bigboneded and Omar, you're both wrong (though Omar less so). The Normans where viking descendants (as Omar points out), and so had a (tenuous) claim on the English throne – as England was a viking kingdom back then. Canute was the king who united the Scandinavian and English thrones some 50 years earlier. But the English king who lost at Hastings was called Harold Gudmundsson, whose Huscarls (men of houses in old norse) met the Normans with their battle-axes just two weeks after defeating another Harold, Hardradi King of Norway, at Stamford Bridge. So, in less than 2 weeks, three viking armies did battle for the english throne. The francofied Normans won, and that was the end of the viking age.

  13. Sorry! I did NOT like it and dumpted 6 bottles down the drain.

  14. Really, now the review was "the head rose very quickly and nearly ran all over the place. I was anxious to taste is and dove right in which resulted in a sticky foam mustache on my upper lip" WTF?

  15. I totally agree with Rebecca, this is very badly written, who every may have wrote this is a very dirty little boy. He must of been having to much fun……(in the dark) cause all he felt was the stickyness on his upper lip.

  16. Honestly I first read all of the comments and thought some were harsh but the last two made me laugh so hard and then I read the review and I understood why they understood it that way. I looked this drink up when I bought it on closet out at world market after Christmas. And when I tasted it I knew what I thought it tasted like so I looked it up and when I read this review and the comments it totally changed my out loon on this drink. But the sticky foam lips made me laugh so hard but the little bad boy comment was HILARIOUS!!!!! But I do agree I do have to much fun in the dark……. Sometimes.

  17. We just found out yesterday that IKEA is not selling this brand anymore. They are going to sell "IKEA" brand Julmust and they missed the shipment so they won't be selling it until Spring. At least the IKEA in Virginia is. Time to look online to see where I can buy it.

  18. For those who so "don't drink it", why don't you let the readers decide for themselves? It's a matter of taste.

  19. does anyone know where i can get that stuff? seriously i was dissapointed when the place that sold it around here was out

  20. Anonymous says:

    Just so eveyone knows, the only brand that taste like julmust originally tasted is Zeurnerts and the best brand with todays flavor of julmust is Apotekarnes

  21. tastes like whiskey and coke….

  22. svenskeman says:

    well hello iam from sweden btw,well i would recomend that your gotta try this at evry xmas,sure works well whit ol fashion swedish meatballs,potato,lax,leverpastej,kalv sylta,prins korv,jansons frästelse
    röbetsallad, and other foods,but still i recomend this drink

  23. Rikard Nilsson says:

    I'm from sweden and I'd just like to point out that many Swedes mix their Julmust with Beer, feel free to try it out. I prefer Apotekarnes Julmust myself and it's one of the main reasons I long for christmas during the year. Julmust is also sold during Easter as "Påskmust".

  24. To deb who poured six bottles down the drain: How wasteful of you! If you didn't want it…give it away. Even if none of your friends wanted to indulge, maybe your local homeless shelter would've appreciated something to have a non-alcoholic Christmas toast with! Sheesh. I am waiting anxiously for Christmas…I WILL be trying julmust. I may like it…I may not…but I'm always interested in trying new things. I hate beer, but love rum and coke and gingerbread…so I'm optimistic!! Skål!!

  25. I've only tried the Ikea version of this drink, but after tasting it I was sure "Dryck Julmust" was Sweedish for "Horrible, foul tasting brown gunk". If one could distill evil, carbonate it and put it in a bottle, it would taste better than Dryck Julmust. It was so bad that I keep the bottle on my desk so when ever I have a tough day at work I look at it and think "Well, it could be worse. I could be drinking that!"
    Negative 5 stars