Happy May Day!
Updated: Jul 15
One of my favourite #Beltane celebrations in these fair isles is the Beltane Fire Festival in Edinburgh. I was lucky enough to be there for their 25h anniversary back in 2012 and it was an experience I am not going to forget in a hurry. This year the festival finally returned as a live event after a long Covid induced digital hiatus. Here a link that gives you a good glimpse of proceedings.
A little closer to home we are of course celebrating as a coven but also with our outdoor ritual group and a seasonal staple to bring along to either is May Punch. The main flavouring is Sweet Woodruff which is widely available in Germany where I grew up but a little harder to come by here, it’s mostly a decorative garden plant and not that common in the wild.
Here how I was taught to make May Punch (Maibowle), there are many many many variations around:
You will need
500 ml white wine (ideally Riesling)
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 sachet vanilla sugar (ca 1 tbsp)
250 ml dry Sekt (if you can’t get that, any sparkling white wine will do)
5 stems fresh sweet woodruff (not blooming)
1 stem mint
1 stem lemon mint
A few slices of lemon, oranges, some strawberries or similar
A day before you want to have the drink ready, collect the Sweet Woodruff. Make sure it’s not flowering - once it flowers the concentration of coumarin becomes too high and you’ll end up with the mother of all headaches. Let the sprigs wilt for 24h, that really brings out the flavour.
On the day, dissolve the brown sugar and the vanilla sugar in the wine.
Tie the woodruff and mint sprigs together and let them steep upside down for 30-45 mins in the wine. The cutting edges of the plants should not touch the wine.
Remove the plants, place the wine in the fridge and chill it.
When it’s time to serve, top up with the Sekt and add the fruit.