What is woodruff syrup?

Answered by Joseph Vos

Woodruff syrup, also known as Waldmeister syrup, is a delightful and versatile ingredient that is widely used in Germany for its unique flavor and vibrant green color. Derived from the sweet woodruff plant, this syrup adds a distinct herbal and floral note to various beverages and desserts.

The sweet woodruff plant, scientifically known as Galium odoratum, is native to Northern Europe and can also be found in parts of the United States and Canada. It is a low-growing perennial herb with delicate white flowers that bloom in spring. The leaves of the plant emit a pleasant fragrance when crushed, which is often described as a combination of vanilla and freshly cut grass.

To make woodruff syrup, the fresh or dried leaves of the sweet woodruff plant are steeped in a simple syrup solution, typically made with sugar and . This infusion process allows the syrup to capture the distinct aroma and flavor of the plant. The resulting syrup is sweet, fragrant, and has a subtle hint of earthiness.

One of the most popular uses of woodruff syrup is in the traditional German drink called “Berliner Weisse mit Schuss.” This refreshing cocktail combines Berliner Weisse, a sour wheat beer, with a shot of woodruff syrup. The syrup not only adds a touch of sweetness but also imparts a lovely green hue to the beer. It is a beloved during the spring and summer months and is often enjoyed at outdoor festivals and beer gardens.

Woodruff syrup is also a key ingredient in the famous German May punch, known as “Maibowle.” This refreshing concoction is made by mixing , wine or with woodruff syrup, fresh strawberries, and sometimes other fruits or herbs. The syrup lends a subtle herbal undertone to the punch and enhances its overall flavor and appearance.

Apart from alcoholic beverages, woodruff syrup can be used in a variety of drinks and desserts. It can be added to lemonade or sparkling water to create a refreshing and aromatic summer beverage. Woodruff-flavored ice cream or sorbet is a popular treat, especially during the warmer months. The syrup can also be used to flavor custards, whipped cream, or even homemade candies and chewing gum.

Personally, I have had the pleasure of experiencing the delightful flavor of woodruff syrup during my travels in Germany. The first time I tried Berliner Weisse mit Schuss, I was captivated by the unique combination of tartness from the beer and the sweet, herbal notes from the woodruff syrup. It was a truly refreshing and enjoyable drink, perfect for a warm summer day.

Woodruff syrup is a versatile and beloved ingredient in Germany. Derived from the sweet woodruff plant, this syrup adds a distinct herbal and floral flavor to various beverages and desserts. Whether used in beer , wine punches, or other culinary creations, woodruff syrup brings a touch of uniqueness and a vibrant green color to the table. Its popularity in Germany speaks to its delightful taste and the joy it brings to those who savor it.