[MR] BBC: Sima, the Finnish National Drink
Garth Groff and Sally Sanford
mallardlodge1000 at gmail.com
Thu May 20 09:31:16 PDT 2021
Noble Friends, Especially Brewers,
Thank Lady Sarah Sinclair for spotting this story on sima, the favorite
drink of Finland and a beverage that dates to the SCA period of interest.
Harken back to the days of Hanse, the league of Baltic of trading cities.
During the 16th century an enterprising Finnish woman trader named Valpuri
Erkintytär Innamaa imported sima from a Hanse port to Turku in Finland. The
sima of her time was a high-alcohol honey mead flavored with lemon. Honey
and lemon were both rare luxuries in Finland, and the bubbly drink became
popular with Finnish elites. On a visit to Turku, the drink caught the
attention of Gustav I, the Swedish king who ruled Finland at that time. The
drink became the favorite of his soon-to-be-tipsy court, and Innamaa became
fabulously wealthy because of the sima trade.
Today, sima remains a Finnish favorite, and is commercially brewed in both
alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions. Thanks to the home brew craze, it is
now sometimes flavored with fruits, herbs and other exotic flavors.
Here is the BBC story:
More about sima is found in Wikipedia:
Wikipedia also offers a thumbnail biography of Valpuri Erkintytär Innamaa:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valpuri_Innamaa . She must have been quite a
Sima is apparently very simple to make, just honey (or sugar, but that's
not really period), lemons, water and yeast. This would be a novel and
interesting beverage for SCA brewers to experiment with. I did a Google
search for sima recipes and came up with a huge haul. I selected this one
(with a couple small of modifications to keep it more period), as it is
- 2 quarts filtered water
- 1/2 cup honey
- 2 lemons
- 1/16 teaspoon yeast (basically a couple pinches; wine or brewers yeast
should work better than baking yeast)
- 20 or so raisins (unsulfured and organic if you can find them)
In a large pot, bring the water to a boil.
While water boils, thinly slice the lemons.
Remove from heat and add the lemons.
Let mixture sit until lukewarm, then add in the honey and yeast and stir.
Pour into 2 quart-sized glass jars, dividing the lemons between the two
jars. Add raisins (10 to each jar) and cover with cheesecloth or an old
Let the sima sit for 8-12 hours. By then, tiny bubbles should have formed
around the perimeter of the jars and the raisins should be floating. (If
your house is cold this might take a little longer than 12 hours.)
Strain into flip-top bottles or into two quart-sized glass jars. Cap
tightly and let stand at room temperature for 3 days.
Transfer bottles to the fridge. (You can let out some of the pressure if
you don’t like super carbonated drinks.)
Lord Mungo Napier, Laird of Mallard Lodge 🦆
Lady Sarah Sinclair, Archeress of Mallard Lodge 🏹
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