Smoking Bishop

Victorian-era port punch, à la Charles Dickens.

bishop cocktail recipe

Charles Dickens’s drinking knowledge was as epic as his tales, many of which include passing descriptions of the Victorian era’s drinking rituals. The Smoking Bishop happens to fall into a family of punch-style drinks named for the clerical hierarchy. The Pope involved mixing with burgundy while Archbishop employed claret and the Cardinal, champagne. In a final scene from A Christmas Carol, Scrooge turns to Bob Cratchit, his belittled employee, with new eyes and invites him to be merry over a bowl of Smoking Bishop—the word “bishop” was 19th-century code for port—which referred to a roasted clove and orange-infused port punch, warmed and mulled with baking spices and further fortified with red wine.


Servings: 10-12

  • 750 ml ruby port
  • 750 ml red wine
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger, freshly grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice, ground
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
  • 4 oranges
  • 20 cloves, whole

Garnish: clove-studded orange slice

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Wash and dry oranges. Pierce and stud each orange with five cloves.
  3. Place oranges in a baking dish and roast until lightly browned all over, 60-90 minutes.
  4. Add port, wine, water, sugar and spices to a saucepan, and simmer over low heat.
  5. Slice oranges in half and squeeze juice into the wine and port mixture.
  6. Serve in a punch bowl, and ladle into individual glasses.
Related Punch A-Z


(n.) A sweet fortified wine from the Douro Valley of Portugal invented in the 17th century to preserve wines traveling to England by ship. Port is made by adding grape brandy to wine during fermentation process. The high alcohol of the brandy kills the yeast, which had been converting sugar to alcohol, leaving a residual [...] More A-Z →