Sip into Summer with Mouth-Watering May Wine Punch

Welcome to my recipe article, where I will be sharing with you a delightful and refreshing May Wine Punch with Sweet Woodruff recipe. This traditional German recipe is perfect for springtime and will transport your taste buds across the ocean to Europe.

The star of this recipe is the sweet woodruff, a creeping herb that grows wild in European forests. Its leaves and flowers have a distinctively sweet aroma that is often likened to freshly mowed hay, vanilla, and almond. In Germany, sweet woodruff is known as Waldmeister and is used widely in culinary traditions, particularly in springtime festivities.

This punch is made by steeping fresh sweet woodruff leaves in white wine or sparkling water overnight, along with strawberries and lemon juice. The result is a refreshing elixir that bursts with floral aromas and fruity sweetness.

In this recipe tutorial, I will guide you through each step of making the May Wine Punch with Sweet Woodruff. Whether you are looking for a refreshing beverage for your upcoming spring picnic or want to explore new ingredient combinations, this dish is sure to delight your senses.

So let’s get started and discover the world of German classics with our May Wine Punch recipe!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

May Wine Punch With Sweet Woodruff (Mai Bowle)
May Wine Punch With Sweet Woodruff (Mai Bowle)

Are you looking for a refreshing and unique drink to enjoy during the spring season? Look no further than this May Wine Punch with Sweet Woodruff recipe, also known as Mai Bowle in Germany. You’ll love this recipe for its delicious and distinctive flavor, as well as its versatility for any occasion.

With fresh strawberries, brandy, white wine, and sweet woodruff, this punch is packed with flavor. The sweet woodruff, a creeping herb with fragrant leaves and flowers, adds a uniquely sweet and earthy taste that will make your taste buds dance. And with the addition of sparkling water or apple juice, this punch becomes the perfect balance of sweet and tangy.

Not to mention, this traditional German recipe is perfect for celebrating May Day or any springtime event. It’s been enjoyed as a classic Maibowle in Germany since the 16th century and is traditionally served at outdoor gatherings with friends and family.

Plus, this recipe is easy to make and can be adapted to your preferences. You can substitute dry white wine or German Rhine wine for the white wine, and adjust the sweetness by adding superfine sugar or honey to taste. And if you can’t find fresh sweet woodruff, you can use dried woodruff or woodruff syrup.

So, whether you are looking for a delicious punch recipe to serve at your next gathering or just want to treat yourself to a refreshing drink on a sunny afternoon, make sure to try out this May Wine Punch with Sweet Woodruff recipe. Trust me; your taste buds will thank you!

Ingredient List

 Raise a glass to May with this refreshing May Wine Punch!
Raise a glass to May with this refreshing May Wine Punch!

Here are the ingredients you will need to make this May Wine Punch with Sweet Woodruff recipe.

List of Ingredients:

  • 1 small bunch of sweet woodruff leaves and flowers
  • 4 tablespoons of superfine sugar, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 1 bottle (750 ml) of dry white wine, like German Riesling or Pinot Grigio
  • Juice from 2 lemons
  • 600 ml of apple juice
  • 400 ml of sparkling water
  • Brandy and fresh strawberries (optional)

Most of the ingredients are easy to find, except for the sweet woodruff. It’s a creeping herb that blooms in May, which is why this punch is called May Wine. It has a sweet, vanilla-like flavor and fragrance that pairs well with white wines. If you can’t find sweet woodruff locally, you can order dried sweet woodruff online or use woodruff syrup instead. Superfine sugar dissolves faster than regular sugar and gives the punch a smoother texture. Honey adds a natural sweetness and depth that complements the woodruff. You want to use dry white wine so that the punch isn’t too sweet overall. Lemon juice and apple juice add some tartness and fruitiness to balance the flavors. Sparkling water provides effervescence and lightness to the punch, making it perfect for spring parties. If you want to spike the punch, use brandy and fresh strawberries as garnish.

The Recipe How-To

 Sweet Woodruff gives this Mai Bowle recipe a unique and delicious flavor.
Sweet Woodruff gives this Mai Bowle recipe a unique and delicious flavor.

Now, let’s get into the heart of this recipe – preparing the sweet woodruff infused May wine punch. This recipe is straightforward and doesn’t require any special kitchen gadgets or techniques. So, put on your apron, grab your ingredients and let’s get started!


To create this sweet and refreshing punch, you’ll need:

  • 1 small bunch sweet woodruff leaves and flowers
  • 4 tablespoons superfine sugar, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 750ml bottle German Rhine wine or another crisp white wine
  • 2 lemons, squeezed
  • 600ml apple juice
  • 400ml sparkling water


  1. How to prepare the sweet woodruff syrup

The first step is making the syrup that will give our punch a unique and floral flavor. Begin by rinsing the sweet woodruff leaves thoroughly under running water to remove any dirt or debris. Gently pat them dry with paper towels.

Next, in a saucepan, pour in 300ml of water and bring it to a boil over medium heat. Once boiling, remove it from the heat and add in the sweet woodruff leaves, superfine sugar, and honey.

Stir gently until all ingredients are combined. Let this mixture cool down entirely before transferring it into an airtight vessel. Store it in a fridge for at least 24 hours to allow the leaves’ flavor to infuse into the syrup.

  1. Infusing wine with woodruff syrup

When ready to make the mai bowle, pour the German Riesling or another dry white wine into a large bowl or jug. Add 4 tablespoons of your homemade woodruff syrup plus freshly squeezed lemon juice of two lemons.

Mix well and let it rest for at least 30 minutes so that the flavors can meld together.

  1. Serving the May Wine Punch

Shortly before serving, add the apple juice and sparkling water to the wine mixture.

You can serve it over ice or decorate with strawberries and woodruff leaves as a garnish.

And that’s it, folks! Our sweet woodruff mai bowle is ready to enjoy. It’s the ultimate punch for a perfect spring maibowle!

Substitutions and Variations

 You can't go wrong with a glass of this bright and floral punch on a warm spring day.
You can’t go wrong with a glass of this bright and floral punch on a warm spring day.

If you’re looking to mix things up a bit and try out some different variations on this classic maibowle recipe, there are several substitutions and tweaks that you can make to suit your own personal preferences.

– Wine: While this recipe traditionally calls for a German white wine, such as a Riesling or Müller-Thurgau, you can experiment with different types of white wine, such as Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay to see which one you prefer. Just make sure to stick with a dry or semi-dry wine so that the punch isn’t overly sweet.

– Sweet Woodruff: If you’re having a hard time tracking down sweet woodruff, you can use dried sweet woodruff instead of fresh leaves and flowers, or simply leave it out altogether. Alternatively, you may substitute sweet woodruff syrup (made from boiling sweet woodruff) with regular simple syrup.

– Fruit: While fresh strawberries are the traditional fruit used in this may wine punch recipe, feel free to experiment with other types of fresh fruit such as raspberries, blackberries or chopped apples.

– Sweetness: Adjust the sweetness of the punch according to your taste preference by using superfine sugar, honey or a combination of both.

– Sparkling water: For an extra fizzy maibowle punch, swap out still water for sparkling water or German-style “soda water.”

Remember that the beauty of this recipe lies in its versatility and adaptability. Experimenting with different ingredients and combinations is part of the fun!

Serving and Pairing

 Impress your guests with this beautiful and easy-to-make May Wine Punch.
Impress your guests with this beautiful and easy-to-make May Wine Punch.

May Wine Punch with Sweet Woodruff is perfect for serving on a warm spring day. Traditionally, it is served on May Day to celebrate the arrival of the new season. This punch is refreshing and sweet, making it perfect for brunch or an afternoon picnic.

When serving this sweet and floral punch, make sure to have plenty of ice on hand to keep it cool. You can also garnish each glass with fresh sweet strawberries for a pop of color and added sweetness.

In terms of food pairings, this May Wine Punch pairs well with light dishes such as quiches, salads, and fruit platters. The fruity notes of the punch complement the flavors of fresh produce perfectly. For a heartier meal, try serving it with grilled chicken or fish.

If you’re looking for a wine pairing, consider serving a dry white wine such as German Rhine wine alongside this punch. The dryness of the wine will contrast with the sweetness of the punch, balancing out the flavors nicely.

Overall, May Wine Punch with Sweet Woodruff is versatile enough to serve with a variety of dishes and drinks. Its light and refreshing taste make it a great addition to any spring celebration.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 The perfect balance of sweet and tart flavors makes this recipe a crowd-pleaser.
The perfect balance of sweet and tart flavors makes this recipe a crowd-pleaser.

This May Wine Punch With Sweet Woodruff (Mai Bowle) recipe is perfect for a spring day celebration, and the good news is that you can make it ahead of time! In fact, I recommend making it at least one day in advance to allow the flavors to blend together nicely.

To make ahead, simply follow the recipe instructions, then cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. When you’re ready to serve, give it a good stir and add fresh strawberries. You may also want to add some ice cubes to keep it nice and chilled.

If you have any leftovers, you can store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. Just remember that some of the flavors may change slightly over time.

To reheat, simply pour the punch into a saucepan and warm it on a low heat, stirring occasionally. Be careful not to overheat the punch as the alcohol content will evaporate quickly, leaving you with a milder tasting drink.

Overall, this is a versatile recipe that can be made ahead of time and stored easily. It’s perfect for those who want to entertain without spending all their time preparing drinks.

Tips for Perfect Results

 Sweet Woodruff is a traditional German herb used in this classic Mai Bowle recipe.
Sweet Woodruff is a traditional German herb used in this classic Mai Bowle recipe.

When making May Wine Punch With Sweet Woodruff, achieving the perfect balance of flavors is crucial. Here are some tips to help you get it just right.

First, make sure to use fresh sweet woodruff leaves and flowers as they provide a unique flavor that can’t be replicated by any other herb. If you’re unable to find fresh sweet woodruff, you can use dried sweet woodruff instead – just be sure to use half the quantity as dried herbs are more potent than fresh ones.

When adding the sweetener, taste as you go to ensure that it’s not too overpowering but enough to balance the tartness of the wine and lemon juice. I recommend using superfine sugar or honey rather than regular granulated sugar as they dissolve more easily in cold liquids.

For the white wine, use a dry German Riesling or Pinot Grigio. These wines pair well with the delicate flavor of sweet woodruff and won’t be masked by the other ingredients in the punch.

To achieve the perfect fizz, add chilled sparkling water right before serving rather than mixing it in earlier. This ensures that the bubbles don’t go flat before your guests have had a chance to enjoy them.

Lastly, don’t forget to garnish your punch with some fresh strawberries for a pop of color and extra sweetness. They also make for a great snack while sipping on your drink.

Follow these tips and you’ll have yourself a perfect spring Maibowle that’s sure to impress your guests!

Bottom Line

In conclusion, this sweet and refreshing May Wine Punch with Sweet Woodruff (Mai Bowle) Recipe is perfect for any occasion, especially during the warm spring and summer months. With the combination of still and sparkling white wines, fresh sweet woodruff leaves and flowers, and subtly sweet flavors from fresh strawberries and brandy, this traditional German recipe is sure to be a hit among your family and friends.

Not only is this punch delicious, but it’s also very easy to make. The ingredients are simple and easy to find, and the recipe can be easily adjusted to suit your taste preferences. Plus, with the option to make it ahead of time and store it in the fridge until ready to serve, this wine punch is perfect for parties or gatherings.

Whether you’re celebrating May Day, enjoying a relaxing day outside with family and friends, or just in need of a refreshing drink, this May Wine Punch with Sweet Woodruff (Mai Bowle) Recipe is sure to satisfy. So why not give it a try? Pour yourself a glass of this delicious German classic Mai Bowle and enjoy the subtle sweetness of this amazing wine punch.

May Wine Punch With Sweet Woodruff (Mai Bowle)

May Wine Punch With Sweet Woodruff (Mai Bowle) Recipe

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 Enjoy!
No ratings yet
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 0 mins
Course Beverage
Cuisine German
Servings 1 Punch Bowl
Calories 145.5 kcal


  • 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)
  • ice


  • 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.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 146gCalories: 145.5kcalCarbohydrates: 10gProtein: 0.2gSodium: 7.6mgFiber: 0.3gSugar: 7.2g
Keyword < 15 Mins, Berries, Beverages, Easy, European, Fruit, German, Punch, Spring, Strawberry
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Recommended Recipes Just For You

None found