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A special Finnish lemon mead, this simä recipe is enjoyed during Vappu celebrations.

Simä is a quickly fermented Finnish mead made from lemons that is fairly low in alcohol. Typically enjoyed during the Vappu festival, which celebrates the arrival of spring and school graduations.

It doesn't take too long to make simä, less than a week, and the steps are not complicated. The addition of raisins helps add additional sugar for the fermentation, but they are also a good indicator of when the simä is ready to drink, as they will float to the surface when fermentation reaches the right stage.

If serving simä to children, try to not to let it ferment too long. Just when the raisins start to float, the alcohol level will be quite low. For adults, give it an other day or so. This recipe is easily doubled for larger celebrations.



(Makes 10 servings)

  • 1/2 gallon (2 litres) water

  • 1 large (110g) fresh lemon, zest peeled into strips, white rind removed, and sliced

  • 1/4 cup (55g) brown sugar

  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated white sugar, plus extra for the later stage of fermentation

  • 1/8 teaspoon (0.5g) active dry yeast

  • 1/4 cup (40g) raisins



In a stock pot over medium-high heat, add the water and bring it to a boil.

While the water comes to a boil, use a zester or potato peeler to peel the yellow zest from the lemon, leaving the white pith. Place the strips of zest into a glass jar large enough to accommodate more than 1/2 gallon (2 litres) of boiling water. Peel or cut the white pith off the lemon and discard. Slice the lemon and place it into the jar with the zest.

To the jar, add the brown sugar and granulated sugar.

Pour the boiling water into the jar, then set it aside to cool until the liquid reaches about 100°F / 38°C, or until it is lukewarm to the touch. Stir in the yeast then cover and set the jar in a spot where it won't be disturbed for 24 to 48 hours, or until bubbles start to appear on the surface.

Strain the liquid into clean glass bottles that can be sealed airtight. Add the raisins equally across the bottles then add 1 teaspoon (4g) of additional granulated sugar to each bottle. Seal the bottles and store in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days. When the raisins begin to float to the surface, the simä is ready. The longer you leave it to ferment, the stronger it will be.

Keep the simä refrigerated and serve cold. Enjoy!


Nutritional Information Per Serving:

total calories = 63 | total fat = 0.05g | saturated fat = 0.01g | cholesterol = 0mg | sodium = 2.23mg | net carbohydrates = 16.3g | dietary fibre = 0.41g | sugars = 15.29g | protein = 0.26g

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