Wow. Thums Up. It’s kind of a Bombay institution, isn’t it? It’s one of those glorious things that never fails to sweep us back in time and conjure up treasured childhood memories of the homeland. Distinctive, tangy, hyper-sweet, the taste reminds us of greedily quenching our thirst after a long afternoon’s cricket practice. Meandering home from school, rationing a prized bottle between best friends. Balmy evening strolls on Chowpatty Beach, rapidly-warming bottle in one hand, Pau Bhaji in the other. It’s not Thunder you can taste, it’s pure nostalgia.
So, there was never really any question that we have Thums Up at Dishoom. It’s part of our Bombay DNA. And we’ve been faithfully serving Thums Up to delighted Desis – and getting our non-Desi friends hooked on it – ever since we opened our doors.
It would be fair to say that another part of our DNA is being curious, or even a bit barmy; asking odd questions that nobody has ever thought to ask before, like “What would happen if an old Bombay Cafe took a trip down to Chowpatty Beach circa 1965 while on a mild acid trip?“, or “I wonder whether Masala Chai tastes good with Baileys?” (answer: of course it does!). And one day recently our Daru-wallah Carl pondered the question, “How can we make a really great vintage cocktail using….Thums Up?”
Sounds more than a bit silly, right? But we just knew that if we could make it work, it would be like that positively rousing moment in Lagaan where Bhuvan hits the winning six, and stops his village paying tax forever. So our daru-walla Carl (who is really very talented – think of him as Aamir Khan in this particular analogy) set to work. We dabbled, we dipped and we tasted and tested, and the answer to that particularly bonkers conundrum is our new Thums Up Flip.
Now Flips are about as classic as they come. The recipe was first written down by Jerry Thomas in 1862, and today the drink is redolent of glamorous 1920s cocktail parties; all smoking jackets, crystal glasses and elegant jewellery. And Flips are not an easy drink to perfect – coming from an era that sanctified purity and perfection in its cocktail-making. But done right, they’re gobsmackingly good.
For our Flip, we took inspiration from Thums Up (or more accurately, a home-made syrup made by carefully reducing the ‘raw’ liquid to intensify its Thums-uppiness!) and combined it with one of our ‘national’ spirits – Johnnie Walker Black Label Whisky. We then added a touch of double cream, an egg and a dash of cinnamon bitters.
It may not sound the likeliest of combinations, but trust us – it’s damn good. The individually heavy flavours work together to create a drink that’s light, delicate and subtly balanced – not to mention absolutely delicious.
We’ll be serving this particular blend of awesomeness from Monday 21st May, when our revamped menu gets launched (more on this to follow…). Keep an eye out for passworded freebies and tasters on Facebook…
One thing we haven’t decided yet is the name – so Dishoom-wallas, we’d like your help! Is it a good old Thums Up Flip, or the racier-sounding Black ‘n’ Thunder [i.e. Johnnie Walker Black Label and the Thums Up slogan ‘Taste the Thunder’]? Or do you have a better suggestion? Let us know what you think by posting below!
PS. If whisky isn’t your thing – fear not – we’re also adding a very nostalgic Thums Up Float with vanilla ice cream to the menu next week…
We began working with Magic Breakfast in 2015, supporting them in their goal of ending hunger as a barrier to education in the UK. Over the years, we’ve developed lasting and loyal friendships with the incredible team and their partner schools. This month, we celebrate reaching the milestone of donating 10 million meals to hungry children in partnership with Magic Breakfast and Akshaya Patra. Magic Breakfast’s Head of Schools, Rachael Anderson, has kindly taken the time to reflect on the last six years of our work together, as well as sharing her thoughts on the profound impact the past twelve months have had.
Since 2015, for every Dishoom meal you’ve enjoyed (whether in the cafés, via delivery, or as a meal kit), we’ve donated a meal to a child that might otherwise go hungry. A meal for a meal. This month, as we reached the milestone of donating 10 million meals, we had occasion to catch up with our dear friends and long-term charity partners, Magic Breakfast and Akshaya Patra. The work both charities do to end hunger as a barrier to education is simply incredible and we’re extremely proud to be able to support them and the communities they serve in the UK and India, respectively. We kindly invite you to take a moment to hear their reflections on our partnership and on the impact of the very important work they do.
Uttapam are a fluffy savoury dosa, made with rice. They're usually enjoyed with savoury toppings but we particularly like ours with lashings of jaggery syrup and a thick, strained yoghurt. Chef Naved has shared his recipe for making an extra fluffy stack at home.
Our Old-Fashioned bottled cocktail takes its name from the Permit Room bar, found in every Dishoom and so named after the official term for all Bombay drinking establishments, in which, according to the Bombay Prohibition Act of 1949, only permit-holders may consume alcohol. Herein, liquor can be sold and imbibed, but only for the goodness of one’s health.
Though the doors of the Permit Room are closed for now, you can still enjoy our tipples in bottled form at home. Follow our lead to achieve the perfect pour, and transport yourself back to a cosy corner of the bar.