Celebrate Christmas with Ebenezer Scrooge's Favorite Cocktail

Everyone's favorite Christmas crank indulged in the "Smoking Bishop."

You don't need some ghost of Christmas future to tell you that tightwads never prosper. So if you're the lucky Scrooge handing out this year's Christmas bonus checks, why not toast your team with a cup of Smoking Bishop, as Ebenezer did with his long-suffering charge, Bob Cratchit, at the end of A Christmas Carol? But make sure you parcel out the payola before the first sip, and that it's secured in a safe place, as this potent deep-purple libation–named for the color of a bishop's robe–has been known to turn a bald man's pate flaming red, and could cause him to forget both your kindness and where he stashed it.
Now, there's much debate as to which recipe for this drink Charles Dickens enjoyed himself, but we're taking the word of his great-grandson, Cedric, who swore to its Dickensian origins. Make this concoction about a day in advance and let it steep before cooking. Another popular version–and one often considered more palatable–calls for brown sugar instead of white, and cinnamon sticks in addition to cloves. Some also claim that Dickens would occasionally spike this already potent brew with an additional bottle of brandy. Here's how to do it. And for more ways to enjoy a tipple or two, here are 15 Amazing Two-Ingredient Cocktails. 

Charles Dickens's Smoking Bishop


  • 5 sweet oranges
  • 1 grapefruit
  • cloves
  • 1/4 lb. sugar
  • 2 bottles strong red wine
  • 1 bottle ruby port


1. Slice oranges and grapefruit in half and bake in a 350ºF oven for 30 minutes or until the fruit turns pale brown.
2. Stab fruit with cloves and place in a warmed earthenware bowl, ceramic-lined slow cooker, or rice cooker.
3. Add sugar and wine; cover bowl and let the mixture sit for a day or so.
4. Remove the fruit and squeeze the juice back into the wine.
5. Strain the wine through a sieve.
6. Add port and let simmer (but don't boil) for one hour.
7. Serve in warmed goblets.

To discover more amazing secrets about living your best life, click here to sign up for our FREE daily newsletter!

Filed Under