Advent Calendar for Grown-ups

by Paul Bommer

DECEMBER 2 Smoking Bishop

Smoking Bishop
llustration by Paul Bommer
Used by permission

Nowadays we still celebrate Christmas with a glass or four of Mulled Wine. But our Victorian and Georgian forebears had a vast panoply of Punches, Cups, Caudles, Noyeaux, Neguses, Shrubs, Flips and Possets at their disposal to mark the Season.

This included a range of 'clerical' punches, spiced and served piping-hot with the addition of roasted (and clove-studded) lemons and/ or seville oranges. If the drink was Burgundy based it was termed a Pope, if Claret-based it was deamed an Archbishop and if Port was the main constituent the Punch was called a Bishop, and so on.

At the very end of Dicken's A Christmas Carol a reformed Ebenezer Scrooge tells Bob Cratchett that " . . . we will discuss your affairs this very afternoon over a bowl of Smoking Bishop, Bob!". Now you know.

This particular Smoking Bishop is Monsignor Cathal Septimus O'Herlihy, Bishop of Ballygramore, enjoying a glass of this edifying brew after a hard day. Note his mitre, crozier, cincture and zucchetto!

From Paul Bommer: Illustration, design & Print-making. Used by permission.

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