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How to make sima for vappu

Updated: Sep 29, 2022

Labour day is celebrated as an important festivity in most countries around the world. In Finland, it is known as Vappu (Valborg in Swedish, second official language in Finland) and considered as one of the biggest celebrations of the year.

In any celebration, there's always joy in the simple moments of eating and drinking together with family and friends. Celebrating Vappu is no different, there are some traditional foods and drinks which people enjoy in Finland during Vappu.

Sima, the Finnish fermented lemonade

Sima is the most common drink on Vappu. It is typically sweet with a lower percentage of alcohol, hence making it really refreshing. Some people make it at home, but there are a lot of varieties and brands to choose from available in most shops. It usually has an orange colour and sometimes comes with raisins. Most people say that homemade Sima is the best, although making it requires a few days before the celebration, usually about 3-7 days, depending on the temperature of the place where to keep it.

In Finland, sima is made from fermenting sugar with water. It becomes bubbly from the yeast fermentation. Lemons and raisins float on top of it. If unfiltered, sima can be a bit cloudy because of the yeast. Since it's usually non-alcoholic, or has a very low alcohol content, it's suitable for children too. Sima is freshly-made and fermented, so it should be consumed right away. If stored for a long time, fermentation continues and the amount of alcohol may go up. People usually like to have sima with munkki, tippaleipä, or rosetti which are all typical Vappu sweets.


Boiling water, about 1 litre

½ cup brown sugar (fariinisokeri in Finnish)

grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

5-10 raisins

Pinch of yeast (fresh or dry bread yeast, ¼ ts)


Bring the water to boil, pour it into a mason jar, add sugar, mix well to melt the sugar well, add lemon juice and the zest.

Let it cool, add the yeast, and mix well again.

Close the jar well with its lid, let it ferment for about 2 days until you see the raisins float on top.

Pour the sima through the filter into another jar and close the lid well again, let it in the fridge for 2 to 4 days.

Open and consume within 7 days.

While you enjoy your sima and the sweets, you could have a look at this article and read about tips to survive vappu.


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