“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]