A Christmas bowl of WHAT? wondered a curious friend of mine.
He discovered that Steaming Bishop (also known as "Smoking Bishop") is a festive punch made from port wine mulled with sugar, cinnamon, and a roasted, clove-studded orange or lemon (some recipes call for grapefruit).
My sister, an English professor, found this relevant passage from VictorianWeb.org: "Dr. Johnson was quite fond of it, as the following passage from Boswell's Life attests. One very late night in 1752 his friends roused him for a ramble and they walked to Covent Garden to help the fruit & veg merchants set up. They then repaired to one of the neighboring taverns, and made a bowl of that liquor called Bishop, which Johnson had always liked; while in joyous contempt of sleep, from which he had been roused, he repeated the festive lines,
Short, O short then be thy reign,
And give us to the world again!"Dust off that punchbowl and ladle!