May Wine is a traditional drink in Germany served on the 1sty of May when spring has officially sprunge and people want to celebrate the season with this delightfully fragrant sweet woodruff infused wine.
May wine, also known as Maitrank, Maiwein, Maibowle and Waldmeisterbowle, is the name of a German beverage that uses aromatized wine as a base. May wine is served in the spring, traditionally on the May Day holiday.
Along with May Poles (or Maibaum – May tree) this is all part of the May day celebrations of spring in Germany and the May Wine is the tipple of choice.
May Wine is made from any light white wine flavoured with Sweet Woodruff (Woodruff).
Sweet woodruff is a delightful plant that grows in profusion in Germany and you can easily grow it in your garden too. It loves shady areas and grows like a blanket of fluffy pretty white flowers in May and June.
In Germany the herb is used to flavour everything from cakes and jellies to sweets and drinks.
Growing sweet woodruff
I started with 4 tiny plants 3 years ago, and now have a gorgeous starry blanket with enough of this fragrant beauty to fill sleep sacks and heart warmers all year long. Apart from being so delightfully pretty sweet woodruff has a secret, when dried it has the relaxing scent of new-mown hay and is widely recognized as a sleep aid.
Sweet woodruff has a slightly aniseed like taste and as the name would suggest it has a sweet taste rather like honey too.
What does May Wine taste like?
This is a bit like Pimms. It’s a very light and refreshing drink and being traditionally served with strawberries in the glass brings to mind Pimms or maybe even a light white Sangria.
Ingredients for May wine
large handful of sweet woodruff
1 bottle light white wine – Hock, Reisling, Chablis etc
1 basket strawberries
sparling water or Cava
How to make this
Dry the woodruff overnight in oven with door open just a crack
Pour wine into large jar and stuff in the woodruff
Leave this in the fridge for a week to soak up the flavours
Strain the wine and discard the herbs
Serving this drink
Slice iup some strawberries and place these in the bottom of a jug or put a few in each glass. Add the May wine and then top with sparkling wine/Cava/Prosecco or just sparkling water.
Serve with sunshine, family and friends!
Looking for other delightful drinks to serve this summer? Then check these out before you go;
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How to make traditional German May Wine
- 750 ml white wine Hock, Reisling, Chablis or other light white wine
- 1 cup sweet woodruff
- Dry the woodruff overnight in oven with door open just a crack.
- Pour wine into large jar and stuff in the Woodruff. Leave this in the fridge for a week to soak up the flavours
- Strain the wine and disgard the herbs