At the very end of the beloved Charles Dickens holiday classic A Christmas Carol, a reformed Ebenezer Scrooge and his long-suffering employee Bob Cratchit share an oddly named libation: a 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 endeavor to assist your struggling family, and we will discuss your affairs this very afternoon over a bowl of Smoking Bishop, Bob!"
The drink, as NPR's Neda Ulaby discovered when she interviewed Cedric Dickens, Charles's great-grandson and author of Drinking with Dickens, is hot, spiced wine similar to wassail — something like a mulled wine, scented with citrus and infused with port.
- 1 bottle of red wine
- same amount of water
- 1/2 C organic dark brown sugar
- juice from 4 roasted oranges + 1 roasted grapefruit
- 8 T of mulling spices (cinnamon, cloves, all spice)
Place all ingredients in a large souppot and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes. Let steep for another 30 minutes. Before serving. Pour in 1/2 bottle of port and warm.
We served this with our figgy pudding. Recipe to come. Cheers!