Elderberry vodka is a great way to make use of a bountiful elderberry harvest by keen pickers. These abundant, deep-hued and fragrant berries are ripe to make this hip flask classic

Elderberry vodka is simple to make and will last for months if you can resist it. Elderberries are not grown commercially, so the only way to get them is to gather the family and pick them yourselves.

Just like sloe gin, elderberries can be used to make a liquer and this is a good way to make use of a bumper crop. Store your elderberries in the freezer or make while they are still fresh. Adjust the recipe to find your perfect concoction and keep your measurements a well-guarded secret, or make extra to give as a gift.

For another festive tipple, take a look at The Field’s Homemade Christmas Pimms and surprise your guests by making this typically summery drink festive, or read how to make damson gin. If you still have some elderberries left over, wild fruit jam is a great way to make use of them. Read the best way to make wild fruit jam.

QUERY: I have a large bag of elderberries in my freezer collected by rather zealous children. Is it possible to use them, rather likes sloes, to make an elderberry vodka or gin mixture? If so, can you supply a recipe.
FT, Cambridge



To make elderberry vodka, crush four cups of elderberries stripped off the stalk, fresh or defrosted, in a bowl with two cups of sugar. Leave for about an hour before adding a teaspoon of lemon zest and two tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice. Pour this mixture into a large preserving jar and add one cup of water and three cups of inexpensive vodka. Stir or shake well. Store in a cool, dark place for a month, stirring regularly and vigorously. Strain and filter, ideally through coffee filter paper, and transfer to a clean bottle. Leave for at least another month before serving.