A German Classic: Maibowle (May Punch)

Traditional Recipe

1 bunch of Waldmeister (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 a bit and poor one bottle of white wine into a punch bowl. 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 it 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 a lighter version, add some ice cubes into the punch.

*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.

Tip: If you cannot find any fresh sweet woodruff, use  sweet woodruff syrup instead or replace the sweet woodruff with 1 lb of fresh strawberries and make a “Erdbeerbowle” (Strawberry Punch) which is also very popular in Germany in May.

Children enjoy this alcohol-free version of “Maibowle:”


  • 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.