Pommac – a Swedish Classic

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The traditional Swedish soft drink Pommac served chilled and with ice in a thin, light, hand blown and hand engraved traditional Swedish “grogg” glass. Probably Orrefors, from around 1920. Nice and classy. The soda is available in the shops, the glass, you can find for around 180 SEK in most antiques shops in Sweden.

There are a lot of things you come across and experience when settling down in the northern country of Sweden; like how to put seven different flowers under your pillow at midsummer, how to eat fermented herring and, the ins and outs of Swedish drinking traditions – an event in themselves.

Since alcohol doesn’t agree with me, this reduces my problems with “snapps” (smells and tastes like paint remover) and beer (brings on the beer gut). However this little classic soda is nice, despite that if given a choice I would of course prefer sparkling water.

Pommac is as Swedish as Coca Cola is American. It’s a fruit based carbonated soda that was launched in Gothenburg in 1919 as a non-alcoholic alternative to Champagne. The name Pommac, is after pomm as in apples in French, and cognac and it is still made after an old secret recipe that is said to contain 25 different fruits and berries. On top of these myths, the essence is matured in oak barrels for three months.

Besides having a nice and fruity flavor on its own, it is an indispensable ingredient in classic Swedish drinks – “grog” – which is basically any soda mixed with anything with high alcohol content. Pommac and whiskey are the pronounced favorite nowadays while in the 1930s Pommac was instead mixed with Gin in the same tradition that actually created Singapore Sling where I come from, not that they on the surface bear much resemblance.

In November 2004 the Danish brewery company Carlsberg who currently produces the Pommac brand, told they planned to discontinue the production. Rarely have the Swedish people stood up so united against their neighboring Danish country. This was too much and after extensive protests lists that contained 50,000 names had been sent in, and campaigns that could have collapsed the Carlsberg brewery in lost businesses; they pulled back their decision.

I need to say that Swedish drinking culture is a bit rough around the edges in my view but then again, they seem to be happy about it so why fret as long as there are a cup of sparkling water available for me.

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Classic Pommac advertisement from 1927. The ladies’ dresses are matching the colors of the fruits said to be part of the Pommac recipe. The appearance of a maid in the background suggests that this is a drink for “high society”.

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