Sima Recipe, Finnish Vappu Drink

It’s almost time for Vappu! Vappu is celebrated May 1st in Finland, although the Finns usually celebrate it for at least an entire week.  The streets of Helsinki are packed with students and their families, as well as some extra tourists who come in for the drinking and celebrating.


It’s so busy, especially around the Rautatientori that you sometimes have no room to walk down the streets.  As is common on Vappu, the students who have graduated, as well as any other graduates will don the customary attire of hats.  A common drink which is served on Vappu is Sima.  Sima contains very little alcohol, and everyone drinks it, even children.  Balloons and decorations adorn all the major Helsinki parks and markets, and overall it is a time for celebrating not only graduations, but also the coming of the summer solstice and wonderful weather of springtime!

The longer that you let the Sima “brew” for, it will become more alcoholic.  The standard thought is that it increases alcohol by .05% each day the yeast sits and ferments.

Sima Recipe, Finnish Vappu Drink

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 1 gallon

Sima Recipe, Finnish Vappu Drink

This Sima recipe is traditionally consumed on May day as part of the Finnish Vappu celebrations!


1 gallon water
2 large lemons
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar plus sugar for bottles
1/4 tsp. yeast
25 raisins
Mix with Vodka to taste (optional)


  1. Begin by boiling the water in a large pot.
  2. Zest the lemons and then slice into small strips, removing seeds.
  3. Add the sugar to the lemons and let sit until the water is done boiling.
  4. Pour water into a large glass or plastic pitcher, and add lemon and sugar mixture.
  5. Cool until lukewarm.
  6. Stir in Yeast.
  7. Cover and allow mixture to sit at room temperature for 24 hours (and up to 48 hours), or until surface begins to bubble slightly.
  8. Strain the liquid into clean glass bottles, jars, or individual plastic containers. Add 5-6 raisins and 1 teaspoon sugar to each bottle. Seal tightly and refrigerate for 2-5 days, or until the raisins float at the top of the bottles.
  9. Keep refrigerated and serve cool.
  10. Enjoy on Vappu!


Hyvää Vappua!!!!!!


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