Sima is a lightly alcoholic drink originating from Finland that shares a common ancestry with mead. In its original form, it is the product of brewing honey with water, along with lemon for flavoring. However, these days other kinds of sugar are used as a substitute for honey.
The process of making sima only takes a few days, generally under a week, so the fermentation is not able to fully complete. This leads the drink to be only mildly alcoholic (low enough that children in Finland are allowed to drink it) as well as giving it the effect of being lightly carbonated.
The drink is most often enjoyed during the Finnish Vappu festival (in honor of the canonization of Saint Walpurga). Sima is generally accompanied by one of a few different seasonal pastries. Munkki (a type of donut), tippaleipä (a special funnel cake), or a rosetti (a fried, cookie-like sweet) are among these.
- 1 gallon water
- 2 large lemons
- 1 cup honey (or 1/2 cup brown sugar + 1/2 cup white sugar)
To create sima, your honey (or brown or white sugar) is added to water, along with the zest and flesh of a lemon. This mixture is boiled and allowed to cool. Yeast is then added and allowed to begin fermenting. The following day, transfer the mixture into bottles and add a few raisins to each. The raisins will help control the amount of sugar in each bottle as well as signalling the drinks readiness by filling with CO2 and floating to the surface. This whole process typically takes between three and seven days. The longer it goes, the higher the alcohol content, and lower the sugar, as well as the more CO2 is generated (so watch the bottles). Sima is generally still cloudy, as the fermentation has not completed and it is not clarified or filtered. It is usually served cold.