Beltane welcomes in the light side of the wheel and so foods and beverages tend to also become lighter in taste. Hot red wine grogs and toddies give way to Dandelion wine, punches, white grape juice and May Wine.
May wine is an infused white wine, traditionally made with Sweet Woodruff. It was just starting to bloom in Jean’s Garden, when I visited yesterday. You can see the tiny white flowers in the center of the picture.
In 1954, the F.D.A. ( U.S.) banned the use of sweet woodruff in food and non alcoholic beverages. Although the ban is still in place it is not without controversy due to contradictory evidence. This recipe however is for an alcoholic beverage and outside the realm of the ban.
May wine is a German beverage also known as Maitrank ( Maydrink), Maiwein ( Maywine ), Maybowle (May punch) or Waldmeisterbowle ( Master of the Forest Punch). Waldmeister being another name for Sweet Woodruff.
Sweet woodruff has vanilla scented leaves and is suggested for nervous conditions related to stress and migraines.
To make Walgmeisterbowle, you will need:
About 30 sprigs of sweet woodruff ( stems leaves and flowers)
1 – 1.5 ( 4 -6 cups ) litres of white wine
750 ml ( 3 cups ) bottle of sparkling white wine, sekt or bubbly water
1 orange, washed and sliced thinly ( optional )
Sugar or honey to taste, optional
As you can see from all the optionals there are a number of variations. Although sweet woodruff is the traditional choice for May Day, it is also possible to change it up and create a variation with what you have on hand that tickles your taste buds.
Choose your sweet woodruff from a place that has not been sprayed and rinse well. It is possible to use the dried herb, although it is not always easy to find. The dried version will be stronger in flavour and will take less time to flavour the wine.
Allow the fresh herbs to wilt overnight. Place the sweet woodruff in the white wine and allow to steep for an hour. Test for flavour and decide if you would like a stronger herbal influence or if you are good to go. ( Remember you are still going to dilute the flavour of this stress releasing tonic by adding more liquid ).
When you are happy with the strength of the infusing, add the chilled bubbly. Sekt is a German champagne style potable but the alcohol and calorie content can be reduced by using a soda water instead of a sparking wine.
Taste and decide if you would like to add a sweeter. Stir to ensure the sugar is dissolved or the honey is mixed in. You can add orange slivers, fresh strawberries or dandelion petals for garnish. ( I made dandelion ice cubes ).
Serve chilled, share with friends and stay away from people who increase your stress levels. Happy May Day!
May Wine from My Kitchen Wand