May 1st is a big thing here in Finland. It's a national holiday celebrated as labour day and a day when people enjoy spring. Everyone in the metropolitan area will gather for picnic to Kaivopuisto in Helsinki. The official drink of the day is Sima (in Swedish mjöd). Sima is soda like, lemon tasting, very sweet, low alcohol drink.
To have some Sima to drink on the May Day, the preparations have to start from one month to a week before. If you ferment the drink in room temperature, it'll be ready faster and if in cold it will take longer.
What you will need for Sima is
- 3 lemons
- 0,5 kg (1,1 lbs) white sugar
- 0,5 kg (1,1 lbs) brown sugar or if not available then syrup (thick brown type)
- 1/4 teaspoon of yeast
- about 8 liters of water, of from about 3 liters hot water and 5 liters cold water (I don't know what measures you use in US or England or Canada, so you may use this converter, to make the units better for you)
- some more sugar
- few raisins per bottle
Also you will need a clean bucket, something for stirring, a peeler, a citrus squeezer, knife, teaspoon, small pot, sieve, used (cleaned) soda bottles for the drink, funnel and a scoop.
Start with scrubbing your lemons clean, peel the lemons so that you only get the yellow part. Put the peels on a small pot and add water so they are covered. Bring to boil and keep on low heat for about 10 minutes. While doing this, pour sugars to the bucket and add as much hot water as is needed to dissolve the sugar, I needed around three liters. Then add cold water untill the mixture is luke warm.
Squeeze the lemons and add the juice to the bucket, add the peel water to the bucket, but before sieve the peel parts out. Add yeast, if you use fresh yeast dissolve the yeast first to a small amount of water.
Place a lid lightly over your bucket or use clingfoil, let the drink ferment till the next day in room temperature.
Next day you'll need to bottle your drink. Add one teaspoon of sugar and few raisins in the bottles. The amount of sugar is for 1,5 liter bottle, adjust the amount of sugar if necessary, but you don't need to be that precise with it. Fill the bottles with the help of a funnel and a scoop and close cap. Let the bottles sit again till next day in room temperature and then move them to some place colder like to the fridge or pantry or even outside.
The drink is ready when the raisins are all puffed out and they have rised to the surface. If you are in real hurry you can ferment the drink in room temperature in a few days, but you'll get better results if you ferment it slowly. (And if possible do not use Pepsi or Coke bottles, because they will give flavour to the drink no matter how well you clean them. I had no choise, these were all the bottles I could scrape up)
Enjoy with good friends and donuts.