Prep 15 mins
Cook 0 mins
May Wine is an old, traditional beverage that originated in Germany and is consumed throughout Europe. Infusing white wine with Sweet Woodruff gives this libation an herbal flavor with green notes that are refreshing and pleasant. Often served on May Day and at spring and early-summer weddings, this beverage is perfect for sharing with friends and family during dinner parties, backyard barbeques, picnics, and at other get-togethers. May Wine was historically brewed during the May and June months when Sweet Woodruff is in flower, but there is no need to restrict consumption to these months. This light and refreshing herbal infused beverage is a perfect treat that can be enjoyed throughout the year! Not only does May Wine taste delectable, but Sweet Woodruff has a long history of herbal and medicinal use. It has been used throughout the ages to treat ailments including liver problems and jaundice. During the Middle Ages, Sweet Woodruff was widely applied as a poultice for wounds and cuts and taken internally for digestive and liver problems. In modern day herbalism, infusions of Sweet Woodruff are used for diuretic and anti-inflammatory effects and to ease stomach aches. This is a classic recipe for May Wine, but feel free to adjust it to your liking. I am already envisioning Chamomile flowers, Rose petals, and Lemon Balm incorporated into future batches! Simply follow the recipe but substitute the herb(s) of your choice for Sweet Woodruff, and make allowances for herbs that are especially flavorful – like Lavender flowers. A note of caution: Sweet Woodruff may produce headaches and other toxic effects if high doses are consumed or if it is used long-term. Info taken from Mountain Rose Herbs. Note: You can easily increase the yield by adding an additional bottle of wine for 16 servings, or double the amounts (use two bottles each of wine and champagne) for 24 servings. For an alcohol-free version substitute white grape juice or apple juice for the wine, and sparkling water for the champagne. If you can't source fresh Sweet Woodruff, use 1/2 cup of dried Sweet Woodruff which you can purchase online. -Or-, use a spoonful per drink (to taste) of Waldmeister Syrup which can be purchased at germandeli.com. Enjoy!
- 1 small bunch fresh sweet woodruff
- 4 tablespoons superfine sugar, to taste (or honey)
- 1 (750 ml) bottle white wine (such as German Rhine wine, Riesling, or Moselle)
- 4 tablespoons brandy (preferably Asbach Uralt) (optional)
- 1 (750 ml) bottle champagne, well chilled (pink or white, or German Sekt)
- 1 cup fresh strawberries (wild alpine strawberries would be ideal)
- fresh orange slice, to garnish
- fresh sweet woodruff, to garnish
- fresh edible flower, optional to garnish (such as Johnny jump-ups and violets)
- Place sprigs of fresh sweet woodruff into the white wine. Cover and let steep at least 30 minutes, or overnight.
- Pour the wine over ice into a punch bowl; discard the woodruff.
- Add the sugar, brandy, champagne, strawberries and orange slices, stir gently to combine.
- Garnish with additional fresh sweet woodruff and float fresh edible flowers such as Johnny jump-ups and violets in the punch bowl, as desired.
- Serve the punch thoroughly chilled, in wine glasses or champagne flutes.