Nathaniel Smith has been in Europe lately, researching spirits and mixing in bartending competitions. We meet one afternoon at Spoon and Stable, where he and Robb Jones, and the rest of the talented stable hands are working on a winter cocktail menu. With the wind blustering and the snowflakes gathering, we chat about a more Swedish way to drink rum.
“Julmust is something that I just learned about,” he says, shaving cloves onto eggnog foam from a Turkish spice grinder. “It’s a Minnesota rum and Coke. Why not?”
Drunk almost exclusively in Sweden around Christmastime (where and when it outsells Coca-Cola), julmust is a soda for beer lovers. It contains both malt and hop extracts, giving it something of a root-beer-meets-barleywine flavor. “It’s not that out there, but it’s different,” Smith says. “It’s a flavor that, if you grew up drinking it, it would instantly taste like the holidays.”
That great blue emporium of all things quasi-Swedish, IKEA sells it under the brand name Vintersaga Swedish Festive Drink. Stock up the next time you get a hankering for meatballs.
Here in Minnesota, one of the rum-lovingest states in the Union, a fair share of the Captain will be passed around the holidays. Smith instead opts for a blend of overproof Plantation rum with the floral Clément Rhum Agricole. Barring that, any not-too-sweet, not-too-spicy rum will work here. Have one of these at midday while you’re making cookies. Then later, when the fire is dying, and everyone has gone to bed, tuck into a nightcap of something nicer (see Spirits Close-Up: Holiday Rum).
Rum and Julmust
1 ounce Plantation Old Fashioned Traditional Dark Rum
1 ounce Clément Rhum Blanc Agricole, Première Canne
Julmust, to taste
Combine rums in a Collins glass with ice. Top with julmust. Whip eggnog with a hand blender until very frothy. Delicately place a large spoonful of froth on the top. Dust with ground cloves. Serve with a straw.