Celebrate the arrival of warmer weather by preparing Finnish Sima this spring! Sima is a a lightly fermented sweet bubbly lemonade served during May Day celebrations including the Finnish Vappu festival. In Finland, Vappu is one of Finnish’s biggest carnival-style festivals. The celebration begins on the evening of 30 April and continues to 1 May.
Below is a recipe which takes 3 to 4 days. It is worth the wait. It tastes sooooo good!
- 8 cups of water
- 2 large lemons
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup white sugar plus sugar for bottles
- 1/8 tsp. yeast
- handful of raisins
- A big pot
- measuring cup
- cutting board’
- potato peeler
- Boil 4 cups of water to a steady boil.
- Add all the white and brown sugar into the container. Mix well until the sugar is mostly dissolved.
- Wash the first lemon and slice it up. Add the slices, too, into the pot of water.
- Wash the second lemon well. Use a lemon zester or a potato peeler to remove the outer yellow rind of the lemon in strips, being careful not to include the bitter white pith. Put the zest into the pot of water
- Add 4 cups of cold water so that the mixture is lukewarm for the yeast to activate. The yeast produces the carbonation. If unsure, take a small cup of the mixture from the container, dissolve the yeast in it and then mix it back. Just dropping a crumb of fresh yeast into the container will also work.
- Cover and allow to sit at room temperature for 24 hours or until surface begins to bubble slightly.
- We are ready to bottle the mixture. First add 5-6 raisins and 1 teaspoon of sugar to each bottle before you pour the sima in. The drink will look cloudy.
- After bottling, let the bottles stand at room temperature out of direct sunlight for 2 more days. The raisins will bloat up and float to the surface.
Third or Fourth Day
- Finally, move the bottles to your refrigerator. The sima is ready, and should be served cold. Because of this, traditional sima is a fresh product that does not store for long. It will keep for at least a week in the refrigerator.
- Sima is usually accompanied by a munkki (donut), a tippaleipä (a special Vappu funnel cake) or a rosetti (rosette). Besure to check out our rosette recipe too!