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Enjoy delicious Dry January 'cocktails' in Edinburgh this month

The Permit Room, hidden beneath the kitchen of Dishoom in St. Andrew Square, has an entirely unique and award-winning list of ‘copy tipples’.

Published: January 12, 2018

For those taking a break from alcohol during ‘Dry January’, The Permit Room’s unique and sincere ‘copy tipples’ all look, feel and taste like serious cocktails, but are totally alcohol-free.

These ‘copy tipples’ were created especially for The Permit Room in Edinburgh, by Dishoom’s award-winning Daru-walla (‘drinks guy’) Carl Brown.

He combines flavours such as ginger, cucumber and orange bitters with secret botanicals to create sophisticated and complex alcohol-free tipples.

These drinks evoke the exact same acidity and warmth as alcoholic cocktails without containing one single drop.

The menu of ‘copy tipples’, which was awarded ‘Best Group Drinks list of the year – 2017’ by Imbibe, and ‘Non-alcoholic bar menu of the year’ 2016 by The Spirits Business, includes:

Dry January

Picture: the dry old Fashioned, supplied

The Dry Old-Fashioned a warming version of the classic containing smoked demerara, orange bitters, juniper, applewood, cayenne and orange peel.

Dry January

Picture: Sober Martini, supplied

The Sober Martini with juniper, ginger and gentian root in grape and cucumber waters to create a gin-like bitterness and warmth.

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Virtuous Tulsi Sour a peaty Whisky Sour which contains no whisky, nor any other spirit and has the warming aromas of juniper, ginger, lemon, holy basil and secret botanicals.

Dry Monsoon Martini – Monsooned Malabar espresso with Dishoom’s secret spirit essence, chilli, and crema.

No Permit Hop Paanch – with tastes of tobacco, leather and peat with lime, jaggery, tea and spices.

Daru-walla Carl Brown, said: “The Permit Room is a shared space where people from all walks of life are welcome, so I wanted to create a menu where every guest could find an amazing drink they'll enjoy.

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"I wanted those who are abstaining, like designated drivers, teetotallers and expectant mums, to enjoy a first-class cocktail without sacrificing on flavour or fun.

"So, I invented a way of making totally non-alcoholic cocktails – affectionately known as ‘copy tipples’ – that look and taste like you're drinking a ‘real’ drink.”

Hidden beneath the kitchen of Dishoom in St. Andrew Square, The Permit Room is named after the Bombay bars where permit-holders may consume alcohol (if only ‘for preservation and maintenance of one’s health’).

Open until 3am every day, guests can enjoy a treat of a cocktail list offering some of the most delicious tipples in Edinburgh.

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The bar’s design pays homage to the Bombay tradition of Parsi theatre, which was a delightful connection to explore, given Edinburgh’s heritage in the performing arts.

The Dishoom team spent many days in Bombay researching and visiting performance institutions like Capitol Theatre and the Royal Opera House for inspiration.

The artwork that decorates the walls (kindly curated by Bombay author Meher Marfatia) includes photos of famous Parsi playwrights, and heroes of Parsi theatre, as well as original theatre posters.

The Permit Room, 3A St Andrew Square, is open every evening from 5pm until 3am. 

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