Don’t feel badly if you’re a little clueless looking at the title of this recipe. Last week I would have no idea what this ‘sima’ thing is, either. I don’t even remember how I came across the original recipe, but I’m glad I did… so is my 4-year old. 🙂
Basically, sima is a sweet mead, though it’s not really alcoholic enough to do anything – even if you drank a whole gallon – so it’s perfectly safe for kids. According to the ever-trustworthy wikipedia, sima is a traditional Finnish drink usually consumed with a fancy Finnish doughnut or funnel cake during the May Day festivities. Sounds good.
Most of the recipes I read called for the sima to be made with a brown sugar and white sugar combo. Well, I didn’t have any brown sugar and I don’t like to drink things with white sugar in them, so I opted for honey (which wikipedia [again] ok’d) and I halved the amount of sweetener called for.
So if you’re looking for a more traditional, sweeter version, double the honey or use brown and white sugar.
Anyway, if you want to have some idea of what it tastes like before you spend your time making it, my dear husband described it as 20% lemonade, 70% kvass, and 10% beer. Now, I don’t know about the beer part, but I would definitely say it reminded me of kvass… only lemony.
There you have it. Now on to the recipe!
- In a large pot, bring the water to a boil.
- While water boils, thinly slice the lemons.
- Add the honey to the boiling water and stir until dissolved.
- Add the lemon slices, stir, remove from heat and let mixture sit until lukewarm.
- Pour into a gallon-size glass jar or pitcher (nonmetallic), add the yeast and stir.
- Partially cover and let sit for 8 hours or overnight. By then, tiny bubbles should have formed around the perimeter of the liquid.
- Strain into a sterilized jar and plop in raisins. (Make sure the raisins aren't clumped together.)
- Cover tightly and let stand at room temperature until the raisins have all risen to the top of the jar (about 12 hours to 3 days, depending on the temp of your house).
- Remove the raisins, let some of the pressure out and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Serve chilled.
- Makes one gallon.