Sima (Finnish Lemonade) #eattheworld

It’s time for #EatTheWorld and we’re heading to Finland! 

As I searched for recipes, I found many delicious, hearty dishes that just seemed a bit too wintery for July, or too similar to other things I’d made before, so I kept searching. Eventually, I came across a recipe for Sima, a slightly fermented lemonade-like drink that is enjoyed in Finland during the annual Vappu celebration. 

From what I can gather, Vappu is celebrated on May 1 and originated as a pagan celebration of spring. Over the centuries, it has shifted to a huge party, especially among the university crowd, who celebrate the final days of the school year. 

Sima (possibly spiked with vodka, according to some sources (I did not spike mine)) is traditionally enjoyed by Vappu revelers. 

The #EatTheWorld challenges participants to cook outside their comfort zone, and while lemonade does not seem very risky, this was way outside the box for me!  Leaving something fermenting on my counter, even for only 5 days, was terrifying to me. I was convinced that I was going to poison someone (I also realize that my sourdough starter was also fermenting on my counter, but since that gets baked at 500 degrees, I figure that anything that would make me sick would get dead in the oven). 

Anyway, even though I was about to leave on vacation (I got back from a 2-week epic road trip mere hours ago - more on that in a later post), I made my Sima and took a tentative sip, decided it was delicious, and then passed it off to a family member with a stronger stomach than me (I’m such a chicken! I also have a tendency to get sick from spoiled food literal days before anyone else in my family - super wimpy stomach!). When I realized everyone was ok, I poured myself a whole glass to enjoy!

The sima was lemony and sweet like lemonade only not quite Lemonade   - it is a must-try for summer!

Check out all the wonderful Finnish dishes prepared by fellow Eat the World members and share with #eattheworld.

Click here to find out how to join and have fun exploring a country a month in the kitchen with us!

Pandemonium Noshery: Vispipuuro - Whipped Semolina Pudding
Nicoletta & Loreto Sugarlovespices: Mustikkapiirakka (Finnish Blueberry Pie)
Margaret at Kitchen Frau: Lohikeitto (Creamy Salmon, Potato & Dill Soup)
Tara’s Multicultural Table: Makaronilaatikko (Finnish Macaroni Casserole)
Culinary Adventures with Camilla: Mustikkapiirakka (Finnish Blueberry Pie)
Amy: Sima (Finnish Lemonade)
Sharanya Sara's Tasty Buds: Voisilmapulla(Finnish Butter Eye Buns)
Evelyne: Pannukakku Finnish Pancakes with Blueberries
Sue:Lattyja Pancakes with Strawberry-Gooseberry Jam
A Day in the Life on the Farm: Lihapullat (Finnish Meatballs)

Disclaimer: This post contains a recipe highlighting a different country or culture. While I strive for authenticity, I sometimes need to make adjustments to recipes due to ingredient availability.  

Recipe adapted from Finnish Food Girl

2 quarts (8 cups) water
1 large lemon
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup white sugar (plus additional to finish)
1/8 teaspoon yeast
15 raisins

Boil the water in a large pot.

While the water comes to a boil, zest the lemons.  Then remove the bitter white rind and seeds.  Segment the remaining lemon flesh. 

Place the lemons and zest in a glass bowl.  Stir in the sugars.

Pour the boiled water into the lemon mixture.  Cool the mixture to room temperature, then stir in yeast and cover.  Set the mixture aside at room temperature for 24 hours (a few bubbles will begin to form on the surface of the lemonade).

Strain the lemonade and discard solids.  Pour the liquid into jars, add 5 raisins and 1 teaspoon of sugar to every 4 cups of lemonade.  Cover and set at room temperature for 2-5 days or until the raisins float to the top of the jars.  Once per day, open the jars to release some pressure.

Remove the raisins and chill lemonade before serving.

See More!

Amy Eats the World in…

Cuba: Ropa Vieja (Slow Cooker Beef)
Thailand: Chicken Satay
Kenya: Crunchy N’Dizi (Peanut Crusted Bananas)
Sweden: Rodbetssallad med Getost (Grated Beet Salad with Goat Cheese)
New Zealand: Kiwi Burge
France: Fougasse (Provencal Flatbread)
Argentina: Chimichurri Sauce
Mexico (Halloween Special): Pan de Muerto (Day of the Dead Bread)
India: Spiced Golden Mil
Poland: Chrusciki (Angel Wing Cookies)
Ethiopia: Buticha (Hummus)
England: Mini Cottage Pie (Harry Potter Leaky Cauldron-Style)
Georgia: Lobiani (Bean-Stuffed Bread)
Mexico: Crispy Pork Carnitas
Cambodia: Loc Lac (Shredded Beef with Lime)
Israel: Chicken Albondigas (Chicken Meatballs)


  1. That looks interesting! I have a friend that ferments her own drinks and it's fascinating.

  2. Glad you had a great trip. So sorry I didn't get a chance to see you. I am going to try fermenting my own sauerkraut now that I've gotten through the sourdough without incident.

  3. I love that this drink is slightly fermented! Definitely a great summer pick.