The Playbook For The Modern Man

A Magnificent Bastard’s Guide To Cocktail Terminology

The following article is brought to you in partnership with LYNX

We deal with a lot of diverse tastes here at D’Marge. On clothes. On cars. On women. But if there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s drinking. We enjoy it and we believe every upstanding gentleman (we use ‘upstanding’ loosely) should know how to do it correctly. That starts with knowing what you’re talking about, so today we’re covering the basics of cocktail terminology. Go grab your favourite bottle of Gin and prepare to be dazzled by this treasure trove of manly knowledge.


Highball: Not just a kind of glass. The highball family of mixed drinks are composed of an alcoholic base spirit and a larger proportion of a non-alcoholic mixer, served over ice.

Lowball: Similar to a highballs in that most only have one or two spirits or mixers and are served on the rocks. However, they are smaller in volume and served in shorter glasses – hence ‘low.’

Muddle: Means taking a tool – shockingly called ‘a muddler’ – and using it to mash fruits, herbs, spices or whatever else you fancy in your cocktail into the bottom of a glass. Not only does it release the ingredients’ flavour, it’s also a workout for your arm.

Neat: The manliest way to drink a drink. The term refers to a single spirit or liqueur served without ice, water or any other interference – pure and perfect.

Call Drink: A cocktail composed of a liquor and mixer, when the liquor is a defined brand (e.g. a Bacardi and Coke).

Dirty: Sounds like porn; actually just means a martini served with an olive and some of the brine added to the drink.

Virgin: A non-alcoholic beverage. Also sounds like porn.

Dry: Not just for vino. Along with wine, cocktails can also be broken down into sweet and dry categories. You’re likely to find that cocktails at the dry end of the scale incorporate dry vermouth.

Straight Up: Probably what you’re imagining when you picture a cocktail. After being shaken or stirred, a cocktail ordered straight up is strained into a glass (quite possibly stemmed) without ice.

Lace: Refers specifically to the last ingredient in a recipe, meaning to pour onto the top of the drink.

Nip: A quarter of a bottle.

Served Long: Think highball. A long drink is anything with enough volume to be served in a Collins or Highball glass. Note that they’ll typically be more diluted than a short drink in a lowball glass.

Back Drink: A small glass of something (water, soda, beer, etc.) to accompany a drink. May also be called a chaser.

Aperitif: A drink served before a meal to stimulate the appetite. Traditionally dry rather than sweet.

Digestif: A post-meal beverage, typically taken straight, with the purpose of aiding digestion.

Flairing: Essentially, “showing off.” The deft, impressive, but totally unnecessary acrobatic tricks performed with bottles, glasses and shakers by overconfident bartenders.

Gomme: Simple Syrup 2.0. Gomme is sugar syrup that has gum arabic added as an emulsifier, made with the highest percentage of sugar to water possible. Adds sweetness and body to cocktails.

Naked: Hardcore. Still sounds like porn. To make: remove the booze of your choice from the freezer and pour it straight from the bottle. Neither stir nor shake. Drink your concoction that’s basically just neat spirit and hope for the best.

Perfect: Usually used to describe a Manhattan that is neither too dry nor too sweet; also what your girlfriend will call you when you show off your newly acquired bartending skills.

A Magnificent Gin Cocktail To Try This Summer

From Matt Linklater of Sydney’s Bulletin Place.

The Great Escape inspired by Steve McQueen 

40ml Bulleit Bourbon
10ml port
20ml cedar smoked sugar syrup
20ml lemon
egg white
garnish with grated nutmeg
Served in a sour tumbler

The richness of the port and whiskey will give way to a subtle woody finish from the cedar syrup, all supported by hand pressed lemon.

You’re Invited to the LYNX Style Space – Sydney

On November 12, LYNX, D’Marge & VICE launch the Style Space in Sydney. For three weeks, gentlemen and ladies are welcome to experience the finer things in life. Cocktails, fragrance testing, style workshops, DJs, barbers and more will be available for guests to stop by and enjoy.

Make sure you come down and experience one of our custom cocktails, designed by Matt Linklater, for yourself.

For more information, click here.



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