The Dickensian Holiday Spirit and a Recipe for Steaming Bishops


In this column, Katherine Knowles divulges recipes you can make in your tiny New York City kitchen.

My sister, who works in the wine trade, describes holiday parties thusly: Ones With Claret, and All Other Parties. What she means, I suppose, is that there are some nights when you’ll be channeling the spirit of Dickens, and others when you’ll be channeling the spirit of Mariah Carey.

This drink is firmly in the former camp.

I was predisposed to like Steaming Bishops the moment I heard the name. It’s a kind of mulled wine, heavily laced with port. I was introduced to it years ago by a friend who confessed that it was his grandma’s favorite drink. Apparently she’d come home from Evensong, have a glassful, then sit at the piano and sing rude lyrics to Christmas carols.

When I made this and drank this, that’s exactly what I felt like doing.

Steaming Bishops
Makes 6 glasses

1/2 bottle of port
1/2 cup of orange juice
1 orange studded with 12 cloves
1 cinnamon stick

Put the orange into a medium oven for 15 minutes to roast. Pour the port and the orange juice into a pan. Heat gently with the clove-studded orange and the cinnamon stick until steaming but not boiling.