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may day mead (sima)

Recipe by
Annastiina Salonen
Vanhalinna, Varsinais-Suomi

Sima is a type of mead which is bubbly and very refreshing. It's made with lemon and sugar and it's commonly served on May Day. The raisins in the drink are meant to be an indicator of the right fermentation and they can be eaten. It's slightly fermented though mild enough to be served to children in Finland as well. It's commonly eaten with munkki, a kind of doughnut or fritter. Liisa's Doughnuts: I have also written the recipe in Finnish, here:

yield 12 serving(s)
prep time 15 Min
cook time 23 Hr
method Stove Top

Ingredients For may day mead (sima)

  • 2
  • 325 g
  • 325 g
    dark brown sugar or 300 grams of sugar + 25 grams of molasses
  • 5 l
  • 1/3 tsp
    dry yeast or pea sized piece of fresh yeast
  • sugar
  • raisins

How To Make may day mead (sima)

  • 1
    1. Wash the lemons and use a peeler to pick the yellow zest. 2. Cut and remove the bitter white peel off the lemon and cut the fruit pulp into thin slices. 3. Put the lemon slices and the yellow zest into a bowl of five liters. Add on the sugar. If you want darker or lighter mead then you may change the ratio of the sugars.
  • 2
    1. Bring half of the water into a boil and pour it into the bowl. Mix it even until the sugar has dissolved. 2. Add the rest of the water as cold. 3. Add the dry yeast when the liquid is 42°C or the fresh yeast when it's 37°C. 4. Cover the bowl and allow it to have an air hole. Let it ferment for about a day in room temperature.
  • 3
    1. Put about one teaspoon of sugar into the clean bottles, along with a few raisins. 2. Mix the mead even. Strain it into a clean, smaller kettle at first and then pour it into the bottles through a funnel. 3. Instead of a cap or cork use pieces of baking paper and a rubber band – this way you won't have to worry about too much pressure forming into the bottles. Put them in a place when there don't tip over easily. The cap may be used when the fermentation has nearly stopped.
  • 4
    1. Put the mead into the fridge and let it ferment slowly for a week or faster in the room temperature for three days. 2. The mead is ready to drink when the raisins have surfaced. Serve the mead as cold. It'll keep for about a week in the fridge.