Dishoom's Taj Ballroom Toddy Recipe

This Christmas, try your hand at this warming pour inspired by the energetic Bombay jazz scene – The Taj Mahal Palace hotel was where Bombay’s jazz age was born. Its famous ballroom played host to some of the best musicians from the West, and their self-taught and accomplished Indian counterparts.

Apple juice from concentrate is best as it provides the right level of sweetness to counter the punch of the Indian malt whisky, Amrut. If you can’t get hold of Amrut, use a single malt Scotch with a bit of body (but not overpoweringly peaty) and a high ABV – around 50% if possible.

SERVES 8

Ingredients

320ml medium-dry cider

200ml apple juice, from concentrate

40ml ginger juice (see below)

1 cinnamon stick

2 green cardamom pods

1 clove

120ml agave syrup

200ml Amrut whisky

A dried orange slice or a small

Strip of orange peel, to garnish

Method

For the Ginger juice

  1. To make this, grate peeled ginger root into a square of muslin placed in a bowl. Gather up the edges of the muslin and squeeze out the juice. You’ll need about 8cm ginger root to give 40ml juice (i.e. 1cm per 5ml).

For the cocktail

  1. Put the cider, apple juice, ginger juice and spices into a saucepan. Warm over a medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the liquid reaches simmering point. Let it simmer very gently for 2 minutes.
  2. Measure 25ml whisky into each cup or small heatproof glass.
  3. Pour 100ml mulled cider into each cup.
  4. Garnish with the dried orange slice or strip of orange peel and serve immediately.

For other Dishoom recipes, please see Dishoom: from Bombay with love, our cookery book and highly subjective guide to Bombay.

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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.

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Goodbye 2023. Hello 2024.

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.