Smoking bishop

  • Serves 4-6
  • Easy

This traditional mulled port drink is a British Christmas classic, straight from pages of Dicken's A Christmas Carol

Smoking bishop (Photo by: Getty Images)

‘I’ll raise your salary, and endeavour to assist your struggling family,’’ it’s the part in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol when Scrooge comes good and Bob Cratchit’s fortunes change for the better. Meant for sharing, Scrooge rustles up some Smoking Bishop and begins to make amends.

Eggnog recipe

The smoke in smoking refers to the steaming tendrils of smoke as the drink warms – but never boils, lest any alcohol evaporates. Bishop was the 19th century code name for port. There are other versions of the drink, all of which signify a drink enjoyed by those with a certain largess.

Here’s how to make a traditional smoking bishop



  • Seville oranges 3, (or use a lemon and two oranges)
  • Demerara sugar 30g
  • Red wine ½ bottle, (not too dry nor too sweet)
  • Ruby port ½ bottle
  • Cloves 15
  • Dried green cardamom pods 2
  • Cinnamon stick 1
  • Stem ginger syrup 2 tbsp, (or use a slice of fresh ginger and an extra tbsp of sugar)


  • Step 1

    Preheat oven to 160C.

  • Step 2

    Wash and dry the fruit, then stud each fruit with 5 cloves. Roast in the oven for an hour in a non-reactive tray, and then transfer the fruit to a glass or ceramic bowl.

  • Step 3

    Add the sugar, stem ginger syrup and the red wine to the roasted fruit, cover and leave it in a warm spot in the kitchen overnight, or anywhere up to 24 hours.

  • Step 4

    After macerating for enough time cut the fruits in half and squeeze them through a sieve into the sweetened wine mixture and strain again. Discard any solids and the squeezed fruit skins.

  • Step 5

    Gently heat the sweetened wine mixture, the port, the cinnamon and the cardamom pods in a non-reactive saucepan, until it “smokes” taking care to not let it boil.

  • Step 6

    Turn off the heat and serve in warmed heatproof glasses, removing the cinnamon stick and cardamom pod as you serve.