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German Maiwein

MaiweinMay Wine is a traditional May Day beverage

Maiwein (May Wine) is a German drink, dedicated to springtime and flavored with fresh Waldmeister (sweet woodruff). Maiwein, a white wine, imported from Germany, can be found in stores. Waldmeister is a fragrant herb, a small plant with white blossoms. In Germany it grows in the forests. However, the variety which grows wild is not usable for flavoring. This decorative plant may be grown in a shady corner of a herb garden. It should be used for flavoring only in May when the new leaves are tender. Cut up and soaked in the wine, it will produce the distinctive May Wine taste.
You can make your own Maiwein by using a good white wine and flavoring it with woodruff.


12 sprigs young Waldmeister
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 bottle Moselle or Rhine wine or other dry white wine

Cover the mixture for 30 minutes, no longer. Remove the Waldmeister. Stir contents of bowl thoroughly and pour over a block of ice in a punch bowl. Add:
3 bottles Moselle
1 quart carbonated water or champagne

Thinly sliced oranges, sticks of pineapple and, most appropriately, sprigs of Waldmeister, may be used to decorate the Maiwein.


1 bottle of light dry wine (Bergstrasser- or Moselle wine)
1 bunch (handful) Waldmeister (the herb shouldn’t be in bloom yet)
2 tbsp sugar

Wash the herb thoroughly, bind into a bunch, and pour the wine over it into a large bowl. Add sugar, and let the mixture stay for 15-30 min in a cool place. Strain the wine through the sieve, and taste for sugar. In case it tastes not sweet enough, add some more sugar.

Tip: add some soda or Seltzer to make the drink more refreshing.

There is a special Maiweinlied (May Wine Song) to accompany drinking Maiwein. Sing it and celebrate May Day!

Related article:
May Day in Germany, Maypole

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