Ebenezer’s Smoking Bishop—For those over 21! (McCarter’s A Christmas Carol @Home)

My Friends! The recipe I offer below, concocted to welcome in the spirit of the season with its luscious flavors, must be initiated in earnest twenty-four hours before its intended hour of consumption. I should say, it is well worth the effort and the wait.

—Your Uncle Scrooge



5 oranges (unwaxed)*

2 lemons (unwaxed)*

30 whole cloves

1 cup water

¼ tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp allspice

¼ tsp mace

1 thumb-sized piece fresh ginger root, peeled and cut into chunks

750 mL red wine (1 bottle)

½ cup sugar, or more to taste

750 mL ruby port (1 bottle)

*You can dewax fruit with a solution of 1 cup of water, 1 tbsp lemon juice, and 2 tbsps vinegar. Spray or dunk fruit in solution, let sit for 10 minutes, wipe or gently scrub, then rinse off and pat dry



Preheat oven to 300°F

Wash and pat dry oranges and 1 lemon (or grapefruit); be sure to remove any stickers. Make 5 small incisions with a sharp knife into each piece of fruit. Insert whole cloves into each incision. Place cloved oranges and lemon/grapefruit onto a baking sheet.

Roast the fruit in the oven for 75 minutes; the peels should lose their bright color and turn pale to brown. Remove fruit from the oven and carefully replace any cloves that have escaped their incisions. Place warm fruit in the bottom of a large bowl and set aside for a moment.

In a small saucepan, combine water with cinnamon, allspice, mace, and chunks of ginger. Whisk together and bring to a boil. Simmer for a few minutes, stirring frequently, until the liquid is reduced by half. Remove saucepan from heat a set aside.

In a large pan, pour in the bottle of red wine and heat over medium high until the wine boils. Reduce heat to a slow simmer, and then pour in the sugar. Whisk until the sugar dissolves. Simmer the wine for 10 minutes. Next, stir into the wine the spiced liquid mixture from the saucepan. Remove from heat.

Pour the heated spiced wine over the roasted fruit in the large bowl.  Stir the fruit and wine gently to combine.

Cover the bowl with a towel or plastic wrap and place either in a warm corner (or in a closed unheated/turned-off oven) for 24 hours.

After 24 hours, remove the fruit from the bowl of spiced wine and place aside on a cutting board. Pour the bowlful of spiced wine through a wire mesh strainer and into a pot. Then cut the oranges and lemon each in half and juice them through the strainer and into the spiced wine through a wire mesh strainer and into a pot—the straining is done to remove the solids and large spices/cloves. Remove as much liquid as possible from the wine-soaked fruit.

Add the bottle of the ruby port into the pot. Stir and heat over medium—but do not boil! Vapors will rise from the warming wine.

Taste the mixture and add more sugar to taste, if desired.

Cut the reserved lemon into wedges and float in the warmed wine.

Wine can be served in a punch bowl; be sure to use heat-safe mugs or glasses.


What makes it special?

Smoking bishop, claimed to be the original Oxfordian brew, seemingly derives its name from the shape of the traditional bowl in which it once was served, a bowl peculiarly shaped like a bishop’s mitre. Its descriptively misty modifier refers to the very vapors that rise from the warming concoction when it is heated.

My favorite memory of imbibing a bowl of smoking bishop dates from the Christmastide of my great transformation and the so very pleasant afternoon spent in the company of my clerk, Bob Cratchit, with a seething bowl of this delightful and delicious punch.


Recipe shared by Ebenezer Scrooge



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