The season for a festive cocktail is slowly winding down to its chilly conclusion. So we’ve turned to an Eighteen Century concoction to give proceedings a good kick up the backside. The Smoking Bishop, can be served to many throughout the remainder of the winter (after all doesn’t the snow always fall in January?). The mere idea of a steamy mug of fragrant luxury, laced with a fiery shot of a seasonal spirit is enough to warm both the body and the soul.
The Smoking Bishop (makes 12 servings)
Glassware: heat-proof punchbowl and 12 heat-proof cups, mugs, chalices or Holy Grails.
Tools: One copper- bottomed pot, slotted spoon, wire mesh sieve, and a ladle
I.) Stick 4 whole cloves into each of the kumquats. You may need to pierce the flesh with the point of a small knife to assist with this. Choose an attractive pattern for the cloves as the clove studded fruit will be used to garnish the punchbowl.
II.) In a large non-reactive pot combine the port, remaining 30 whole cloves, 10 all-spice berries, brown sugar, and the clove decorated kumquats. Cover the pot and let the mixture sit at least 2 hours, and up to 3 days. When ready to serve, bring the mixture to a simmer; do not let it boil. Once hot, use a slotted spoon to move the kumquats to a warm punchbowl; add the brandy. Pour the spiced-port mixture through a fine mesh sieve into the punchbowl.
III.) Use a ladle to serve the warm punch.
Notes: To warm the punchbowl, fill it full of hot water. Empty out the water just before pouring in the punch ingredients.