Fine Living | The Reconnoisseur

The distinctive, moreish taste of Swedish lakes

A cordial welcome to a flavoursome Swedish drink

The distinctive, moreish taste of Swedish lakes

January 13 2011
Elisa Anniss

Delicious Swedish rhubarb cordial is the present that I felt proudest giving this Christmas. It appeals to me because I can’t abide strong, sweet, syrupy, soft drinks, and this has a distinctive, moreish and not overly sweetened taste that isn’t ubiquitous – I had to look hard to find it.

Over Christmas the drink worked brilliantly for the kids, who added fizzy mineral water, while the grown-ups experimented, dreaming up tasty cocktails. And now in January it’s certainly the perfect thing to reach for when everyone’s in a detox frame of mind.

I usually stock up on Tillmans of Sweden’s Organic Rhubarb, or Rabarbersaft, from a local deli in Primrose Hill or Tom’s in Westbourne Grove. However, the last time I was there, rhubarb had sold out and only strawberry or elderflower remained. So I was thrilled to discover the Nordic Bakery, which, as well as offering Finnish cinnamon buns and unusual Karelian pies with soft mashed potato innards, is also well stocked with the very same cordials, in particular, rhubarb. As well as the original café at Golden Square, there’s now a Marylebone outpost.

And if you don’t want to run around town with a bunch of heavy bottles, there’s Swedish Juice Ltd, which actually imports the stuff and sells it online in a minimum order of six (£3.36 per bottle). “Tillmans is a family firm who produce juices and jams in Dalecarlia, the lake district of Sweden,” says Roy O’Shea of Swedish Juice. He discovered Tillmans when he bought a holiday home in Dalecarlia and liked the offering so much that he brought it home for people like me to enjoy.