Wyrd Designs – May Day Punch Recipe

Wyrd Designs – May Day Punch Recipe April 30, 2011

I am now a 1-year veteran blogger here at Patheos, and since I already covered the holy tide of Walpurgis last year (for new readers, you can find it here to read:  Wyrd Designs – Holy Tides –  May Day & Walpurgis), I thought this year I’d add to what I started.The previous article had my own punch recipe that I call Summerday Delight in it, but this year for people looking for traditional German flare to add to your celebration, you might want to check out these recipes for Waldermeisterbowle, or May Punch. What follows are a collection of recipes I’ve been given or found online through the years. It seems just as Sangria has many different recipes, so to does Waldermeisterbowle.

Woodruff or Waldermeist
Woodruff or Waldermeist

Of course finding the main ingredient the waldermeister or woodruff can be a bit tricky. Sweet woodruff is a perennial herb whose small white flowers bloom in May and June. It is widely available at garden nurseries in many parts of the US. Woodruff has a scent that’s been described as being a combination of part fresh mown grass/hay, part vanilla, & part cinnamon. Varying on the recipe you’ll either need to use the woodruff directly, or a syrup made from the woodruff. Do keep in mind that woodruff is a poisonous plant (but you have to ingest ALOT of it for it to be harmful), however many of the woodruff syrups available today are artificially flavored and don’t actually contain woodruff.

As a resource to my readers, here are some links where you can find this ingredient if you have trouble finding it locally or through your other favorite suppliers. Whole Spice sells the dried flower, and German Deli (with both physical retail stores and an online store) sells not only waldermeist syrup, but other food products that are also made to capitalize on this traditional, seasonal flavor of Germany.

A Modern Traditional Recipe

  • 1 bunch of Waldmeister, known in the US as 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 poor 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.

Alcohol-free version

  • 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.

An Alternative Recipe: IVAR’S MAY PUNCH
This appears to be from the Southern U.S. and represents an American twist from German descendants.

  • 1 gallon white wine (Riesling is best)
  • 1 pint Southern Comfort (gives it a peachy flavor), or Yukon Jack for a different flavor
  • 1 quart fresh strawberries, thoroughly cleaned and stems removed
  • 1/2 cup dried sweet woodruff herb (waldmeister), crumbled
  • 1/2 cup superfine sugar

Begin your preparation the day before the punch is to be consumed.
This enables the flavors to bloom.

The day before the punch will be served:

Heat the Southern Comfort until it is very warm to the touch, but do
not let it boil. Steep the sweet woodruff in the Southern Comfort
overnight (there is no need to refrigerate, but it is best to cover
the mixture to prevent evaporation). Thoroughly dredge the
strawberries in the sugar. Place the sugared strawberries in a covered
container and refrigerate overnight. Chill the wine overnight.

The day the punch will be served:

Strain the Southern Comfort/woodruff mixture and discard the solid
material. The Southern Comfort may have a somewhat cloudy appearance
now. Not to worry.

Add the strained Southern Comfort/woodruff infusion to the wine and
stir well. Add the sugared strawberries and any juice that may have
leached out of them overnight. Stir. Chill the mixture for
at least two hours before serving. If the punch bowl will be sitting
at room temperature for a substantial period during the festivities, a
single block of ice may be floated in the punch to keep it cold. Do
not add small ice cubes or crushed ice, since they will melt quickly.

When you dole out the punch to your guests, try to make certain that
every cup gets at least one of the strawberries.

Make Your Own Woodruff Syrup from Scratch

1st recipe

  • 1 bunch sweet woodruff (only the one that is not blooming yet!)
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice (+ 1 teaspoon citric acid)

1. Cook a syrup from water, sugar, lemon juice and citric acid.

2. When the syrup is cool, pour into a bottle and deep sweet woodruff in it. Let stand for about 5 days in the fridge or any other cool place

(sweet woodruff macerating in sugar syrup)

3. After 5 days, divide the plant from the syrup. Close the syrup in the bottle. In Germany people would add a few drops of green food coloring, since there everything related with sweet woodruff should be green. You can do it as well :)

2nd recipe

  • 1/2 l apple juice (without sugar!)
  • 250 g honey
  • 1 bunch sweet woodruff

1. Deep woodruff in apple juice for 20 minutes. After this time, divide juice from the plant

2. In a saucepan, cook (very short!) apple-woodruff juice with honey. Still hot, fill the bottle. To prepare a delicious drink, dissolve 1 part of apple-sweet woodruff syrup in 4 parts mineral water.

Have fun, but remember to drink responsibly.

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