As I child, I was fascinated by the preparation of this bubbly concoction. The procedure itself is quite simple—mix water, sugar, lemon and yeast, pour into the empty soda bottles and let ferment for three to five days—but I always took this process with grave seriousness. My dad was really the one doing most of the mixing and measuring, but I was an eager spectator, taking pride in popping raisins into each bottle before the caps were screwed on and the sima was taken to our cellar for fermentation. The raisins play a crucial role: as they sit in the lemon mixture, the raisins soak up the yeast, and start floating up to the top of the bottle. Once all the raisins float to the surface, the sima is ready to be enjoyed. Simple as the soda-making is, it can also be very particular—too little yeast or too cold an environment and the mead turns out flat, while too much yeast or too warm of an environment and the bottles are at risk of exploding, due to the pressure created during the fermentation. We learned this the hard way: one year our cellar stairs became flooded with sugary fizz, and we had to settle for store-bought sima, which sadly tastes nothing like the home-brewed version.