May Wine - Food and Drink

The Element Encyclopedia of Witchcraft: The Complete A-Z for the Entire Magical World - Judika Illes 2005

May Wine
Food and Drink

The traditional festive beverage of the May Eve/Beltane/Walpurgis celebration, May Wine is flavored and scented with the herb Sweet Woodruff (Asperula odorata). Sweet Woodruff’s other folk names include Forest Queen, Forest Mother Herb, and Master (or Mistress) of the Woods. The earliest surviving recorded mention of May Wine occurred in 854 CE, when a Benedictine monk, Wandelbertus, referred to it.

In German, May Wine is called Maitrank. Traditionally any type of Rhine or Alsatian wine is used.

1. Place young, fresh woodruff shoots in a covered tureen.

2. Add a bottle of white wine. (Some now also add a few tablespoons of brandy.)

3. Cover the tureen and allow the wine to infuse for an hour

4. Dissolve sugar to taste in water and add to the infused wine, then serve.

As fresh woodruff is not always available, dried herbs may also be used. Sliced fresh strawberries are also frequently added just before serving.

See CALENDAR: Beltane, May Eve, Walpurgis.