EEEEC: Astrid Sudeying’s Lemon Mead

EEEEC: Astrid Sudeying’s Lemon Mead – Sima

Entered in Degustation, Astrid describes her entry:

“I have been interested in trying to make a lemon mead for a while as our household loves mead and
limoncello. Unfortunately, I have been having trouble finding a proper period recipe. There are a few mentions in “Sima – a festive drink made with natures ingredients” by Seija Irmeli Kulmala about it being a favourite of King Gustav I of Sweden (early 1500’s) after he tasted it on a visit to Turku, a town that was then part of Sweden, but is now part of Finland. It was an imported drink from Riga and Lubeck (Latvia and Germany) and seems to have had a long history from there before it turned up in Finland of the future.

“The 16thC version of the drink was a honey-based mead and much higher alcohol content compared to the barely alcoholic sugar-based lemonade (like our homemade ginger beer) of modern Finnish Sima. So, more research to do, but I was excited to try my own version. I used a sack mead recipe of 2 parts water to one part honey with the juice and rind of 6 largish lemons making up a portion of the water allowance. It worked out that each cup of water was 8ml of lemon juice, and about 242ml of water. I used my usual mead making process, in that I heated the water, honey, lemon juice and rind, and let it get hot enough for the wax to scum (usually 65 to 70 degrees). Once any ickies are scooped off the top – I use my mums finest left over, crystalised, odd bits of honey from her last year’s hive takings, so there are usually fun particulates – I taste it, leave it to cool and then put it in a demijohn with some yeast. I was quite lucky in that the largest container of honey had a citrusy taste.

“The yeast is currently past its frat party phase and is now studiously munching its way through the sugar. I have a few weeks to go before I find out if it is going to be great, ok, or a complete disaster.”