Sima is the May Day drink of Finland. Finns serve this refreshing lemon drink throughout the summer. Its tangy characteristic taste comes from the yeast that is added in the beginning. Don’t feel like making it? Stop by Irma’s on May Day for a sample!

4 quarts water
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/8 cups (approximately) granulated sugar
2 lemons, washed and thinly sliced
1/8 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 tablespoon raisins

Heat the water to boiling and stir in the brown sugar and 1 cup of the granulated sugar. Add the lemon slices. Cool to lukewarm and transfer the liquid to a non-metallic container. Add the yeast and stire (but do not add the yeast until the liquid has cooled, or it will not work. To test for the correct temperature, place a few drops of the liquid on your wrist; if it feels neither warm nor cold, it is the right temperature). Let this water-sugar-lemon-yeast mixture stand overnight or at least 8 to 10 hours in a warm place. There should be tiny bubbles around the edges of the liquid after this length of time.

Sterilize 8 pint bottles, 4 quart bottles, or 1 gallon jug, and place 1 or 2 teaspoons granulated sugar per quart of liquid into each container, as well as 3 or 4 raisins. Strain the liquid and pour into the containers. Cork tightly. Let stand at room temperature until the raisins have risen to the top of the bottle (this indicates that the Sima has fermented enough and is ready to drink). In the winter, this may take 2 days or more; in warm weather, only 8 hours. Chill and store in the refrigerator or a cool place. Makes 1 gallon.

From The Finnish Cookbook by Beatrice Ojakangas

May 20, 2019 — Catherine Branville