Sima (Finnish Lemon Soda)

  • Serves

    makes 1 Liter


Bright and fruity with a caramelized depth of flavor thanks to brown sugar and a four-day ferment, this homemade lemon soda is enjoyed during the May Day celebration in Finland. Pair it with tippaleipa (Finnish funnel cakes) for an authentic treat.


  • 18 tsp. fresh yeast
  • 3 cups filtered water
  • 12 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 5 golden raisins


Step 1

Mix yeast and ¼ cup filtered water heated to 115°; let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. Place brown sugar in another bowl. Bring 1 ¼ cups water to a boil in a 1-qt. saucepan; pour over sugar and stir until sugar is dissolved. Stir in remaining water, lemon juice, and granulated sugar; let cool. Stir in yeast mixture and drape a clean dish towel over bowl; let sit at room temperature (ideally 70-75°) for 24 hours.

Step 2

Using a funnel, pour soda into a sterilized 1-liter plastic soda bottle, filling to within 1" of the top or lower. Add raisins and close bottle tightly with top. Let sit at room temperature (ideally 70°-75°) for 24 hours (the bottle should become rock-hard with the pressure that builds up within). Refrigerate soda for 2 days before opening and serving. Drink soda within 1 week of opening, and store in the refrigerator.

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