The first words out of my husband’s mouth this morning, were “What is smoking bishop?” He thought the “foodie” would know for sure. Well,….I’ve never heard of it. He was watching The Christmas Carol late last night and this was what Scrooge wanted to share with his employee,Mr. Crachet, after his miraculous transformation to be a lover of Christmas and humanity. The trusty internet had the answer. We have watched The Christmas Carol many, many times. It’s our favorite story and movie…all the versions. Well, it seems in many of the movie versions this drink is called a Christmas bowl, or just punch. Charles Dickens actually wrote, “a bowl of smoking bishop”. Funny, after all these years, it stood out…and we really need to know the answer.
“A Merry Christmas, Bob!” said Scrooge with an earnestness that could not be mistaken, as he clapped him on the back. “A merrier Christmas, Bob, my good fellow, than I have given you for many a year! I’ll raise your salary, and endeavor to assist your struggling family, and we will discuss your affairs this very afternoon over a bowl of Smoking Bishop, Bob!”
It seems the drink is a hot spiced wine with fruit added. The name “bishop” referred to the port wine that is customary. In the 1800’s there were drinks with many clerical names. A “pope” included burgundy, “cardinal” was champagne or rye, and “archbishop” was made from claret.
I found a couple recipes and cut it down to size for a festive celebration for 2, with a little left over. Using lemons this time, I think I’ll try oranges and grapefruit in the future. It was a tasty indeed, and my husband declared it a new tradition! We adopted the plum pudding many years ago for our Christmas eve supper in honor of Dicken’s Christmas Carol, so now the Smoking Bishop will join the party for many holidays to come!
6 whole cloves
1 tablespoon mulling spices (mixed whole allspice, cardamom, cinnamon chips, ginger
1 cup water
1 bottle tawny port
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Poke the cloves into the lemon and place in a small baking dish. Roast for 30-40 minutes. Cut the lemon in half and place in a saucepan with 1 cup water and 1 tablespoon mixed mulling spices. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Add the port and heat slowly, never allowing it to boil. Keep at a low simmer for about 1 hour. This would work great in a crock-pot. Serve “smoking hot” to keep Christmas well!