My friend Nick is really into cocktails these days.
Actually, wait - let me give you an idea of what it means when Nick is into something. He doesn't just do a hand-waving, half-assed exploration of a topic. Oh, no. When Nick is into something, he goes whole hog. Like the time he decided to become an expert in Web 2.0 taught himself Ruby on Rails (he's now the online media editor for a newspaper in Ohio), or the time he decided bridge was the world's classic card game and got really, really mad at me when we were partnered up and almost lost because I got silly on Manhattans. (He was making the Manhattans, by the by, and we did win, so I think it's probably time for an apology, actually.)
This tendency to go deep into a subject makes Nick really easy to shop for - he can never have enough books about the thing he's learning about, and since I love to buy books (and since he's a man with very particular tastes, which makes him scary to buy clothes for), we're a gifting match made in heaven. So, of course, this year, I gave Nick two books on cocktails (this one and this one), assuming he would be ready to help me tipple my week of vacation away with Sazeracs and Gin Fizzes.
Little did I know he'd been crafting his own signature cocktail, which he's tentatively named the "Gin"-ger Lemonade. It's ginger syrup (basically simple syrup reduced with slices of fresh ginger), gin, seltzer, lemon juice, and a mint garnish. And, holy man, is it good. (Actually, it's even good without the gin, which is saying something).
Did I mention that when Nick gets into something, he usually becomes really, really good at it?