Shower Her With Herbs: May Wine Punch

| April/May 2003

Instead of serving champagne or white wine, for a special herb lovers’ treat you could make May Wine. May Wine is an old, traditional drink popular in Europe and in colonial times as a spring drink, which is often served at spring and early-summer weddings. Perfect for an herbal bridal shower, serve May Wine as a punch for guests to enjoy as they arrive.

To make May Wine, dry sweet woodruff (Galium odoratum) on an old screen for several days, or until the leaves are crispy dry. Strip the leaves and crush them slightly. For one bottle of wine, you’ll need 1/3 to 1/2 cup of dried woodruff leaves. Put the dried woodruff in a coffee filter. Gather up and tie with white kitchen string. Place in a wide-mouthed glass canning jar. Pour one bottle of Riesling or Chenin Blanc wine over the woodruff (save the wine bottle and cork). Screw the lid on the jar and let it sit for 2 to 4 hours. Remove the bag of woodruff and strain the wine back into the wine bottle (use another coffee filter for this). Cork the bottle and chill it until ready to use in the punch, or drink as is.

May Wine Punch

Serves 12

• One 13- to 15-ounce can pineapple chunks, drained
• 1 bottle May Wine (see recipe above)
• 1/4 cup Grand Marnier
• 1 bottle dry sparkling wine, chilled Fresh, ripe strawberries

Put a block of ice in your prettiest crystal or glass punch bowl. Add the pineapple, the May Wine and the Grand Mariner. Stir well. When ready to serve, add the sparkling wine and stir only once. Garnish each punch cup with a strawberry (leave the green stem on).

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