What is it?
It’s a sort of fermented lemonade traditionally brewed on the 1st of May to celebrate the spring. Originally it was a kind of mead but the modern version is very low in alcohol due to the short fermentation time. It comes from Finland.
What’s special about it?
It’s incredibly simple and pretty quick to make. You probably already have everything you need. There are also raisins in it for some reason. Weird for a drink right? Apparently when they rise to the top of your Sima it is ready to drink.
What does it taste like?
Umm like yeasty, caramelly lemonade.
How do I make it?
In a large pot, bring the water to a boil. Add the brown sugar. Add the lemon slices, stir and let sit until lukewarm. Transfer the liquid to a nonreactive (non-metallic) container and add the yeast and stir. Partially cover and let sit for 8 hours or overnight. Tiny bubbles should have formed around the perimeter of the liquid.
Strain the liquid into sterilized bottles. Place one teaspoon of sugar per litre of liquid as well as 4-5 raisins. Cork tightly. Let stand at room temperature until the raisins have all risen to the top of the bottles. Refrigerate until use, letting out some of the pressure from the bottles from time to time, if necessary.
You can read a bit more about Sima and Finnish May Day traditions on Wikipedia.