random thoughts to oil the mind

Smoking Bishop

“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 endeavour to assist your struggling family, and we will discuss your affairs this very afternoon over a bowl of Smoking Bishop, Bob!”

A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens

Every year it seems I come to searching for a recipe for this Christmas treat, the website dies within 12 months and I have to go searching for another or rely on the scribblings stashed away in the cupboard. For a change, I thought I might write up my jottings so that next year I’ll have a reliable place to turn!

The recipe is enough to make about 10 glasses, and can be bottled and re-heated to drink over a number of days.


  • 6 large oranges
  • 2 large lemons
  • 120g brown sugar
  • 1 bottle (700ml) red wine
  • 1 bottle (700ml) ruby port
  • 8 cloves
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp all spice
  • 1/4 tsp mace

For serving:

  • 2 lemons & 2 oranges cut into wedges


  1. Place the oranges and lemons in the oven on a baking tray at low heat (around 100-120°C) until they are pale brown (around 1 hour).
  2. Stud the warmed fruits with the cloves, and place them into a large bowl. Add the spices – ginger, cinnamon, all spice and mace – and the sugar, and pour over the wine. Stir gently and then cover leave overnight.
  3. Halve and juice the fruits into the bowl.
  4. Sieve the resulting mixture into a saucepan to remove any pips and pulp, and add the cinnamon sticks.
  5. Heat to a simmer for a few minutes, then reduce the heat, add the port, and warm the mixture for around 15-20 minutes (without boiling off the alcohol).
  6. Optional: Serve with ground nutmeg and fresh wedges of lemon and orange.
[Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash]


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  1. Lovely. We made Smoking Bishop for our Epiphany Party and it went down very well. Stronger than you may think at first! See https://stchrysostoms.wordpress.com/2015/01/05/smoking-bishop-at-epiphany/

    • We usually end up making a big batch and drinking it over a period of days. With the constant reheating you can certainly feel the alcohol content drop as time goes by!

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