German Recipe: “Maibowle,” or May punch

may punchBy Teri Weiss

“Maibowle,” or May punch, is a refreshing beverage to enjoy on mild afternoons and evenings with family and friends. The main ingredient is “Waldmeister,” or sweet woodruff, a perennial herb whose small white flowers bloom in May and June. Sweet woodruff contains coumarin, which gives it its notable scent and flavor. Try for yourself with the following recipe:

• 1 bunch of Waldmeister, or sweet woodruff (about 0.2 to 0.35 ounces)
• 2 squirts of lime juice or lemon juice
• 2 bottles of dry white wine
• 1 bottle of semi-dry sparkling wine
• Ice cubes

Let the bunch of woodruff dry somewhat and pour one bottle of white wine into a punchbowl. To prevent the toxic substances of the woodruff from entering the punch, you should dip the bunch of woodruff into the wine, tied together with a string so that the stem ends stick out; let steep for 20 to 30 minutes. Remove the woodruff and discard. Add the remaining white wine and top off with the sparkling wine. Chill with ice cubes placed under the bowl. If you would like it sweeter, you may add some sugar.

May punch (alcohol free)
• 1 tablespoon of sweet woodruff syrup
• Juice of 2 lemons
• 600 ml apple juice
• 400 ml sparkling water
• Mix all the ingredients and serve chilled

Note: Almost every village and town in the area will be hosting May fests, throughout the month. Many times, these events are only announced in the local community papers or on banners throughout town. For upcoming fest calendar listings and events off-post, visit