I've been reading about classic cocktails rather a lot lately, partly inspired by Anthony Bourdain's statement that a Negroni was his favorite cocktail. I've also noticed that I have a fair number of friends and acquaintances who are present or former bartenders, many of whom are European. Gin seems to be much more popular "over there," than it is here. That's not to say that the classic Gin Martini, or the Gin and Tonic is going away; both seem more popular than ever and the U.S. is still the largest market in the world for gin. But I realized in parsing what Sloe Gin meant to a friend that I don't actually know much at all about how gin is distilled. The name of course is derived from either French genièvre, or the Dutch version of the French word, jenever.