That the Bombay Prohibition Act of 1949 has never been repealed is a lovely Bombay peculiarity.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.
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.’
With February comes a gladdening of spirits, lighter morning skies and discernibly louder birdsong. It is also the month to bid farewell to our winter cocoons (at least partially) and tune back into the world beyond our blankets. Allow us to ease the de-hibernation process, by sharing some of the things piquing our interest this month.
“Who wants to see some magic?” Chef Arun calls out. He flings the rolled out dough into the air, sending it soaring above the counter. It spins and twists, a graceful dancer in the air. The children watch its arc, their eyes wide with wonder, until it lands gently back in the chef's hands. The children shriek in delight.
January is a most divisive month. For some it heralds the hopeful turning over of new leaves; for others it is a month to trudge begrudgingly through towards the promise of spring. Whichever camp you find yourself in, we have plentiful diversions to share. See them as the cherry atop your already gleeful January cake, or a welcome distraction while you await winter’s end.
I AM HERE, dear reader, slovenly and slouched, staring into my drink at the end of the bar in our new restaurant in Battersea. My mind is still down and out, sifting around in the dregs of ’23 but of course it knows that I should really straighten my back, raise my chin and look squarely up into the cold new light of ’24. My drink – Choti’s Punch – clear and strong, sweet with a little salt, may help.