Finnish Sima - Mead Beverage

Sima is a sweet mead that is an seasonal essential brew connected for the Finnish Vappu festival in Spring. It is usually flavored by adding both the juice and zested rind of a lemon. My husband and teenagers love it better than root beer, and say it gives them energy all summer long.


Finnish Sima is usually accompanied by munkkeja or Tippaleivat (donuts and other pastries).

Note: During second stage of fermentation, the raisins are added to control the amount of sugars and to act as an indicator of readiness for consumption. They will rise to the top of the bottle when the drink is ready.


  • 2 fresh whole lemons
  • 1 gallon mineral or purified Water
  • 1 quart mineral or purified Water
  • 1 1/2 cups honey
  • 1 1/2 cups unsulphered Molasses
  • 1/4 tsp. dry Baker's yeast

To each quart add:

  • 4-6 unsulphered raisins
  • 1 tsp. organic natural sugar


  1. Wash the lemons and peel the lemon zest away in thin strips. Remove the bitter white pith.

  2. Slice the remaining whole lemons and place them with the thin peel, molasses, and honey in a sufficiently large crock or vessel.

  3. Bring half of the water to the boil and pour it over the lemons, peel, honey or molasses and sugar. Stir and leave to stand covered for a while.

  4. Add the remaining water at room temperature or cold.

  5. When the liquid is lukewarm, add the yeast by sprinkling over liquid in container; stir well, then pour into quart size containers.

  6. Place cheese cloth over each bottle opening and tighten with screw-on band.

  7. Keep the Sima/Lemon Honey Mead at room temperature for two - three days, until it starts to ferment.

  8. Day 2-3: Strain the Sima/Lemon Honey Mead is it will have become a slightly bubbly liquid.

  9. Pour liquid into clean quart containers or bottles and place 4-6 raisins and 1 tsp of sugar in each container.

  10. The mead is ready when the raisins rise to the surface in about 2 days.

Important: Loosely cork the bottles and store them in a cool place for up to a week. Drink chilled.

Note: In warm or hot weather, stop increased alcohol growth during fermentation after 2 days, before adding the raisins for one day only; then place bottles in refrigerator until well chilled and enjoy.


A Finnish friend told me if the Sima/Lemon Honey Mead ferments longer than two weeks, one might as well by-pass mixing water, lemon, molasses, honey and yeast, as it is becomes like chilled vodka served with raisins and a twist of lemon because the "alcohol content" is just about the same." Laugh out loud, and you be the judge!

Finnish Sima is ready after 5 days.

30 minutes prep | 5 days Total

Servings: 12

By Sharon C. from Vancouver, WA

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August 26, 20090 found this helpful

From a U.P. Suomi Tytta (Finnish spelling rusty) thanks.

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August 27, 20090 found this helpful

What kind of crock do you use for this recipe? How long does this beverage last? Should you drink it soon after it is finished, or is there a shelf life?


Can you use clean plastic soda bottles for the containers, or should you use glass? Thank you!

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