Sima (Finnish Lemon Mead)

This recipe is less sweet than many you can sweeten right before bottling by making a simple syrup from honey, agave, or sugar (fine sugars can be added directly to the bottle) and adding that to each bottle.

What you need:
  • 4 Cups boiling water (dissolve honey in water)
  • 2 and 1/2  Cups honey
  • 4 lemons zest pith thrown out and then sliced thinly
  • 1/2 tsp yeast in 1/2 Cup of lukewarm water to foam I just used Bob's Red Mill active dry yeast, not brewer's yeast or wine yeast - folks get really specific about what they use and why.  They are all yeast.  So it is up to your preference.
  • 16 Cups water
  • Food grade non-reactive (anything acidic requires a non-reactive container or it will taste metallic or worse) bucket - 5-7 (I did 6) days
Yield is about 8-10 20oz bottles

Boil 4 Cups water and add 2 and 1/2 Cups honey to it to dissolve.  Zest lemons keep zest.  Cut away the white pith, it is a bad kind of bitter - throw out the pith.  Slice thinly the lemon and expel any seeds as found. Then add to hot or warm water/honey mixture both the slices and the zest.  Stir and let sit.  Prep lukewarm 1/2 Cup of water and add 1/2 tsp yeast to it and let foam.  Once the honey/lemon mixture is warm-tepid (so it wont kill yeast) add it to the bucket and then pour in yeast water. Add 16 Cups lukewarm water to bucket and put either loose fitting lid on the mix or a tight fitting lid ONLY IF you are using an airlock.  An airlock will help pressure escape while keeping the environment save for the yeast to continue growth.  The yeast will turn the sugars into alcohol.  Woo!

Let your Sima be alone for the amount of time you choose.  Recipes vary from 2 days fermentation to months.  We did 6 days.  We may split up our bottles and let some stand longer than others and see what the taste and alcohol difference is.  It also can become champagne like in fizzy-ness.

Sieve, bottle, leaving an inch of room at least.  Put 3-5 raisins in each bottle let stand with loose lids overnight 12-24 hours then move to refrigerator as raisins rise in each bottle if using glass bottles leave lids loose in refrigerator for a few hours so that you can be certain yeast production has suspended (This is to keep the Sima from making bottle bombs from pressure build up).  You must wait until the fermentation process has stopped before closing the bottles securely.  1. the raisins are floating 2. the bottles are cold to the touch. Cold will suspend the yeast activity.   After one final 24 hours in the fridge these delicious bad boys are ready for your festivities!


We had one about a day after putting it up in the fridge.  Good, but a little zippy in the tang department.  The flavors definitely hadn't fully developed.  4 days later... more fizz, more mellow and middle sweet.  I love the soft sweet of this!   It is now the 28th  (original post on the 10th) and the Sima is amazing.  Fizzy, lightly sweet, lemon tangy and I highly recommend this one!!!  If you want it for the holidays I recommend allowing for this fridge time!!!