Maibowle or May wine was mentioned the first time in the year 854 by the monk Wandalbertus from the German monastery Kloster Prüm, and it was used as a strengthening medical beverage for liver and heart. It also contained leaves from black currant and a vine named “Gundelrebe”.
Waldmeister is an herb that has de-cramping effects as it contains the substance Cumarin which is having an euphoric effect in high dosage, and can cause headaches and drowsiness. The vikings used Waldmeister in beer brewing, and because of its intoxicative effect is was inhibited in the 1950s. You should not drink too much of it as it can seriously cause strong headaches.
The Waldmeister plant grows to 12-20 inches long, and is often lying flat on the ground or supported by other plants. If you translate Waldmeister into English it means “Master of the Woods”. It is not only used for the Bowle but also in combination with and is called “Berliner Weisse”.
The English name is Sweet Woodruff. The best is to buy the plant and have it in the garden. So you can enjoy every year the Maibowle. The syrup is difficult to find and might be imported from Germany or find it in a special German shop. Cheers! Prost!
Ingredients Maibowle or May Wine
500 ml white wine, dry
2 tbsp sugar, brown or white
1 package vanilla sugar, 0.3oz – How to make Vanilla Sugar –
250 ml dry Sekt (German sparkling wine)
5 stems fresh Waldmeister (not blooming) or 1/2 cup dried or Waldmeister syrup – find Waldmeister Syrup here
1 stem mint and 1 lemon balm (Zitronenmelisse)
2 slices lemon
Instructions Maibowle or May wine
– Dissolve brown sugar and vanilla sugar in wine.
– Let fresh Waldmeister wilt , then place it into the wine (upside down, cut off ends should not touch the wine) together with mint for 30 min, maximum 45 min.
– Freeze lemon slices, place wine in the fridge to chill it.
– Before serving add the Sekt.
– You can add small ice cubes if the Waldmeister fragrance should be too strong.
– Optional: Add strawberries that are cut in halve.
Find the sweet woodruff plant here