Classic Drinks, Sober Twist

That the Bombay Prohibition Act of 1949 has never been repealed is a lovely Bombay peculiarity. This piece of legislation states that officials must issue permits for alcohol, and even then only in emergency cases. Technically, therefore, all adults of legal drinking age (25 or above) need a permit if they want to drink in a bar in Bombay. It’s for this reason that bars in the city are called ‘Permit Rooms’.

By and large, this law is very sensibly forgotten. But in 2012 there was a particularly zealous police chief – ACP Vasant Dhoble – who remembered it. He notoriously took to closing down bars and nightclubs in Bombay brandishing a hockey stick, with which to mete out his peculiar brand of justice to unfortunate drinkers and dancers*. He has since been moved on and given up raiding bars, but should the ‘Murderer of Mumbai Nightlife’ ever come to London, he might find some amusement in the fact we’ve named an innocuous-looking breakfast cocktail ‘The Dhoble’, and all of our bars are adorned with a hockey stick and his photo.

But don’t worry – you’re not in any danger at Dishoom for we’ve concocted our first-ever entirely sober tipple menu that’s sure to appease Mr. Dhoble and keep any hockey stick flailing at bay.

Our Daru-walla has spent hours studying mixology tomes, determined to create drinks that have the same acidity and warmth as alcoholic tipples, without the risk of inebriation. As always he has out-done himself, concocting 7 sober tipples that don’t sacrifice on flavour or fun – all with sturdy heritage and a dash of nostalgia, of course.

And for beer-drinkers, enjoy star lager Estrella Free Damm – brewed using the same ingredients and process as normal beer, but it’s teetotal. Or for those partial to sharing a bottle, there’s a choice of alcohol-removed wines from Edenvale. Guaranteed temperate elegance for any celebration.

Do peruse the menu here and visit any Dishoom for a taste of sobriety.

For those wanting to taste at home, Daru-walla Jake has kindly shared the recipe for our Virgin Colaba Colada.


70ml pineapple juice
30ml coconut cream
20ml lime juice
8g ground cinnamon
6g fresh ginger
½ teaspoon of ground nutmeg
A pinch of coriander
1 cup of crushed ice


1. Add the above ingredients into a blender
2. Blend until smooth
3. Sip cooly and enjoy

*The Bombay Police Act, 1951, states that ‘customers and patrons themselves are only allowed to dance and at one time there should not be more than 10 couples on the dance floor.’

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Suggested Reading

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Dishoom Loves. Issue VIII.

The sun is momentarily out again. Calendars are fast filling up. There’s many a thing to do and many a friend to meet. And if we may kindly add to the excitement and the plan-making, here’s our list of what we’re looking forward to in September. 

Memories from the Fringe

While we were at Edinburgh Fringe Festival, we caught Evening Conversations, an engaging show by Sudha Bhuchar. We caught up with her after the show to talk about her journey and her views on South Asian representation on screen, which you can read below. And for those who didn’t walk down the cobbled streets of the city or stumble into an impromptu performance this year, we highly recommend it for 2024.

Dishoom Loves Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Each year as August dawns, the streets and rooms and corners of Edinburgh fill with music, art, laughter and song. Wander into grand halls and pokey pubs, as the morning sun rises or in the dark of night, to see creations of every kind as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. In honour of this wonderful celebration of the performing arts (and as a little treat), here’s a special edition Dishoom Loves, covering all the acts we’ve circled on our festival programme.

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For anyone looking to learn or read more on Partition, this page holds a series of resources, for all ages, created by people knowledgeable and knowing about such matters. It is by no means definitive – we have simply found them to be useful, inspiring and accessible.