Rowan berries are very astringent. Before ripening they contain tartaric acid; after ripening they have citric and malic acids, the sugar sorbin and the saccharine principle sorbitol.

Ideally the berries are picked when fully ripe and after the first frost, but quite often if you wait until then the birds get there first. Therefore pick the berries when fully ripe but before the first frost. Rinse them carefully, remove the stems and put them in the freezer for a couple of weeks. The frost makes the berries milder and sweeter.

Put 800ml berries in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Cover the berries with vodka and allow to steep for one to four weeks in the dark at room temperature. Shake lightly and taste it occasionally. Strain and filter your infusion into a glass bottle. Store for a minimum of two months in a dark place at room temperature. Continue to store the vodka in this way, even during use, as heat and direct sunlight can cause unwanted change to its colour and aroma.

Send queries to Rosie Macdonald, Country Queries Editor, The Field, Blue Fin Building, 110 Southwark Street, London SE1 0NS or email Country Queries.

The Field cannot accept any legal responsibility for answers given in these columns.