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#HouseOfVirtueGin by SJV
2017/05/17  |  By:   |  Features  |  

There was a time, back in the day, when extra-curricular activities were deemed just as important on a CV as further education. I know right? Before mindfulness and happiness and leaning-out or leaning-back or whatever it’s called was ‘invented’, well-rounded prospective employees with a healthy work/life balance were actively encouraged to do more with their lives than just, you know, go to work…

I, like thousands of other dropouts no doubt, managed to cobble together a list of ‘hobbies’ that I liked to think glossed over the early departure from the education system and made me appear cultured (visiting art galleries… Greek mythology), sporty (horse riding and trampolining) and just a bit more interesting than I actually was (embroidery, bird watching, volunteering…).

I hasten to add, and with full disclosure, not all of these hobbies were 100% true. There was an element of, shall we say, embellishment to the list.

I had been to an art gallery, on a horse and indeed, seen a bird. That much, aged 16, was true. But much closer to the truth would have been a list that included dressing inappropriately, ‘borrowing’ Rimmel Heather Shimmer lipstick from Boots and underage drinking.

But let’s be honest, very few companies would have hired that girl.

For the next 30 years or so, my interests have included painting my nails, endlessly rearranging my book shelves, capturing sunrises and sunsets, clubbing, eating, seeking out the boldest bluest brightest mascara, cocktails and sitting on my side of the sofa watching reruns of Wire in the Blood.

Again, not necessarily ideal candidate material.

maggHowever, last November, Stylist magazine issue number 345 changed my life.

This special Handmade Issue introduced me to the concept of infusing my own gin, courtesy of Aimee Twigger of Twigg Studios and 4 months later I finally have a hobby to be proud of.

#HouseOfVirtueGin is infused with pink peppercorns, fresh rosemary sprigs and coriander seeds – and according to the Batch Nos 1-4 guinea pigs – it’s delicious.  It, from what I can tell thus far, requires no formal training, other than ‘drinks gin’, tick – requires no special equipment, other than ‘buy vodka, buy empty bottles, buy botanicals’ tick – and requires no more skill than ‘pour vodka in empty bottles, add botanicals, shake, sieve, serve over ice’ tick.

Sure, I’m modifying my ingredients as I go along (the cinnamon stick really was a mistake in Batch No 1) and I’ve upped the quality of vodka I’m using to something quite spendy now, but I’ve rarely felt a sense of pride as strongly as I do when I gift a bottle to someone and they say they enjoyed it.

So listen, what I’m saying is this.  Work is great, sure sure.  Hanging out doing nothing is super, natch.  But if you are watching your friends and colleagues skip off to learn conversational Japanese on a Tuesday night, or cosplaying on a Sunday… baton twirling, flower arranging, ice skating… climbing mountains, collecting coins, DIYing, trainspotting, cake creating or gongoozlering (look it up!) with a sense of envy that your pastime doesn’t quite match up – don’t despair.  Fake it till you feel it, and when you do feel it, it’ll be the very best feel you’ve ever had.  Gin infusing my friends, gin infusing is the answer….

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