May wine is obtained from wine with the addition of woodruff (Asperula odorata or Galium odoratum) or its extracts. On the other hand, the May drink (Maibowle) is made from dry white wine into which woodruff or extracts have been mixed, with the addition of oranges and/or other fruits, possibly in the form of juice, concentrates or extracts, and subjected to a sweetening with sugar of not more than 5%. Both designations or recipes are protected under EU regulations. The typical spicy aroma of fresh hay comes from the active ingredient coumarin (coumarin). No more than 3 g/l of this should be used, as the weakly toxic coumarin can cause headaches. The first mention of May wine was made by the Benedictine monk and poet Wandalbert (813-870) from the Prüm monastery in 854. It was served in the monastery as a medicinal drink to strengthen the heart and liver.
The May wine or Maibowle (also known as Waldmeister-Bowle) was very popular, especially along the Rhine, and was produced and drunk in the name-giving month of May. The woodruff is collected without roots and left to dry slightly. A small bouquet is then hung with the leaves in the punch. The stems should not be dipped into the wine during this process, as this could also release undesirable bitter substances. After 30 minutes, the spice is taken out again and then the drink is topped up with sparkling or mineral water and sugared. Especially the ingredients were and are very different, among others tarragon, fennel, peppermint, thyme and lemon balm are used. According to EU wine law, it is a wine-based drink. See also other drinks under mixed wine drinks and special wines.