Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Smoking Bishop - the ONLY mulled wine worth bothering with.

I adore mulled wine. I really, really do. So much so that I am incredibly picky about it. Don't like the type made with a nasty syrup, almost always too sweet and synthetic tasting. It's rare that the type found in Christmassy markets is worth the anticipation. Only one thing for it. Make it!

Smoking Bishop is my family's choice. Or to be specific my Mum and I make it each year while my dad says that he doesn't like mulled wine. A traditional recipe featured in 'A Christmas Carol'  (and you can't get more Christmassy than that) it has more than one variation floating around the web.

This is so successful that we have been known to run out of it at parties because nobody wants to drink the other choices. The announcement that the last jugful is nigh has been known to cause near accidents. I planned to take a lovely photo of the batch I made for a party last weekend as I thought I had made far too much. Turns out not a drop was left to lake a snap of the next morning. I could cheat and take a photo of a glass of wine but that's not the point is it? So here is Scrooge and Cratchit settling down for the evening with a frankly obscenely large bowl of the stuff.

Less sweet than most mulled wines (although you can add more sugar if you wish) it is reliant on just one spice, the clove, to give it the flavour of Christmas.

Smoking Bishop
6 Oranges
2 Grapefruit
120g white sugar (I use sugar which has had a vanilla pod in it for a bit.)
3 Bottles red wine
1 Bottle ruby port
48 + Cloves

1. Turn the oven up as high as it will go and pop the fruit in on a baking tray until they are starting to brown.
2. Stud the fruit with 6 - 8 cloves apiece (you will find it easier if you have poked a hole with a skewer first) and into a large pot with the red wine. Leave to mull overnight.
3. In the morning fish the well pondered fruit out of the wine and squeeze all the juice out into the pot.
4. Add the port and sugar.  Stir well.
5. Heat till warm and taste. Add more sugar if it is a little bitter for your taste.
6. Serve. Be careful to not let it boil. It's not romantic but I find that reheating it one jug at time in the microwave for around 2 minutes is a lot safer at parties.

In the unlikely event of  having some left it stores beautifully in a old wine/port bottle. (Don't throw the empty bottles away until you know whether you need them.)  I have no idea how long it will last for but I have happily drunk a year old batch to no ill effects.

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