Sima Recipe – Easy Finnish Homemade Soda

When I was a child, I used to love it when my mom made traditional Finnish recipes for the family.

And one of my favourites in the summertime was this Sima recipe, an easy Finnish homemade soda made with lemons, sugar and hops.


So, when I stumbled on my Sima recipe in my beloved handwritten cookbook of family recipes, I decided it was time to introduce my boys to the homemade soda that I’d loved when I was their age.

Sima is quite easy to make. Simply boil the ingredients, let them cool to room temperature and then add a pinch of yeast.

About a day later, the soda is ready to be put into bottles.


Like all homemade soda pop, Sima is very, very slightly alcoholic. The yeast converts sugar to alcohol and carbon dioxide, which is what gives the drink its carbonation.

But don’t worry, the alcohol content is incredibly miniscule (less than 1%).

Any variety of dried hops will work for making Sima, but make sure to use whole dried hops and not the compressed hops tablets that are often used in beermaking.

To bottle the Sima, I use 500ml plastic bottles with screw tops that I’d previously used when making beer.

I generally fill between 20-22 bottles, depending how much liquid the lemons absorb and how much sediment gathers at the bottom of the pot.

To know when Sima is ready to move into the fridge, a few raisins are dropped into each bottle. When they float to the top, the lemony homemade soda is properly carbonated and ready to drink.

And the raisins are a tasty treat after, since they’re so juicy!


To my delight, both my boys loved their first taste of Finnish soda, and I was so happy that I decided to give them a taste of this childhood treat.

Neither liked the raisins as much as my siblings and I had as children, though!

If you want to try a unique and refreshing summertime beverage, give Sima a try and see what you think!


Sima - Finnish Homemade Soda Pop

Yield: 22 500ml bottles (44 servings)
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Sitting Time: 1 day
Total Time: 1 day 15 minutes

An easy homemade soda pop recipe that's a traditional Finnish summer beverage.


  • 45 cups water
  • 2 cups light brown sugar
  • 2 cups dark brown sugar
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 cup hops
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 pinch baking yeast, about 25 grains
  • raisins


  1. Boil water. Skin peel off lemons, slice off pith (white part). Slice lemons thinly, discarding seeds.
  2. Add sugar, lemon peel, lemon slices and hops to boiling water. Boil for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Cool mixture to room temperature and add yeast. Let stand, covered, at room temperature for about 24 hours (until lemon slices and hops have risen to the top of the mixture).
  4. Pour through strainer or cheesecloth. Put into bottles, adding two or three raisins to each bottle.
  5. Store in cool room until raisins rise to the top of the bottles (3-4 days). Move to fridge and enjoy!


Original recipe calls for seven cups of sugar, but I prefer using a little less. Use a blend of white, yellow and brown sugars to suit your taste.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 44 Serving Size: 250ml (8oz)
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 103Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 10mgCarbohydrates: 27gFiber: 0gSugar: 26gProtein: 0g

Sima is a delicious and easy homemade soda from Finland that's perfect for summer sipping! Made with lemons, hops and sugar, the drink has a refreshingly unique flavour. Give it a try and sima may just become your new favourite summer beverage!

33 thoughts on “Sima Recipe – Easy Finnish Homemade Soda”

  1. So sorry, this is probably late, but I was taken aback by the 57 g of sugar in the nutrition facts. 57g of sugar seems to be about right at the time you set your boiled mixture to cool. (Per serving, of course.) But then you add yeast. The yeast eats the sugar to make bubbles and a little alcohol. So the actual sugar content at the time of consumption would be somewhat less. How much less is what’s bugging me, since I am diabetic and there is no way in hades that I am going to drink that much of a slug of sugar at one time. Do you have any idea of how to find out the actual sugar content when the sima is ready to drink?

    1. Hi Hilda, Thanks so much for reaching out! I used the number of bottles I filled as my serving size, which really wasn’t the best choice since they were 500 ml bottles. A one cup (8oz.) serving of Sima has about 26 grams of sugar, which is comparable to the sugar content of most commercial soda pop products.

      And while you’re right about the yeast eating some of the sugar, it is a pretty minute reduction in most homemade soda recipes (including this one). I tried doing some research online, but there doesn’t seem to be a clear answer for just how much sugar would be consumed by yeast in a day, since the variety and the amount of the yeast affect that calculation.

      To be safe, I’d assume the sugar content stays the same as written, and that a final one-cup serving has about 26 grams of sugar. I updated the serving size and nutritional information to make everything more clear in the that regard.

      Hope this helps, and let me know if you have any other questions!

    1. Hi Francine! The hops are dried, and I’ve found the variety doesn’t matter much since there’s such a small amount used. I personally used whole dried Cascade hops, which I believe has a bit of a fruity flavor profile. Hope this helps!

  2. I’ve never come across a Sima recipe that included hops before, does it really add a good flavour or is it ok to omit? I’ve haven’t ever used it in anything but I’m willing to give it a go if it’s a game changer!

    1. That’s so interesting, because I’ve never had Sima any other way! :) This is my Finnish grandmother’s recipe and I do like the slight bitter touch that the hops adds, since I feel like it balances the sweetness of the drink. I also find that this recipe tastes a lot like beer and ginger ale mixed together, so giving that a try might give you an idea on whether you’d like Sima with hops added!

  3. I haven’t heard of Finnish soda before. I would love to try it, but would need to get hops. A lemon and sugar soda sounds nice for the summer to me.

  4. This looks very good and it would be fun to make with my grandkids! I think they’d get a kick out of it! Thanks

  5. Wow , that’s really neat . I’ve never heard of homemade Soda but it sounds a lot easier to make than I would expect . Might have to try this out .

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