The Bishop Cocktail

The Bishop Cocktail

The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 5 mins
Serving: 1 serving
Yield: 1 cocktail
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
232 Calories
0g Fat
5g Carbs
0g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 232
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 2mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 5g 2%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 2mg 11%
Calcium 3mg 0%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 48mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

If you look around, you will find countless recipes for a drink called the bishop cocktail. Most are a sort of red wine and fruit punch that is a bit like a simplified sangria. It's a nice drink, but there's another bishop cocktail that you should know as well.

The bishop is a classic cocktail, and it is a little more interesting than the popular modern drinks under the name. This one comes from the 1935 printing of "The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book" by A.S. Crockett. The famous bartending guide actually includes two versions, one for a single serving and one for a punch recipe.

What the classic bishops have that most modern recipes do not is rum, and it makes a world of difference. It takes the drink from a dressed-up glass of wine into the cocktail world. It's a simple little change but an important one because the rum adds depth to the flavor.

No matter how you make it, the bishop is an enjoyable cocktail; and one that drinkers of all tastes will appreciate.


Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    The Bishop Cocktail ingredients

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  2. Pour ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice.

    The Bishop Cocktail ingredients in a cocktail shaker

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  3. Shake well.

    cocktail shaker

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  4. Strain into a chilled red wine glass.

    The Bishop Cocktail poured into a glass

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Classic Bishop Punch

  • The main difference in the punch recipe is that it inverts the rum and wine which is a smart move for any party. If we were to pour an entire bottle of rum into the punch bowl, we would have some very intoxicated guests. So, like sangria, the wine dominates this classic punch.
  • It's a very easy punch to mix up and is better if you prepare it the night before. This gives the flavors a little extra time to meld and mesh to create a well-balanced drink.
  • To make the punch, combine 1 bottle red wine, 3 ounces rum, the juice of 1/2 lemon, and 4 barspoons superfine sugar in a punch bowl or pitcher. Stir well to make sure everything combines and the sugar dissolves. When it's time to serve, add ice and any variety of seasonal fruits you wish.
  • This punch will make about nine 4-ounce servings.

The Modern (Hold the Rum) Bishop Cocktail

  • If you are interested in the wine-only version of the bishop cocktail, it could not be easier. All you really need to do is replace the rum in the recipe with wine. Many bishop fans prefer a red wine from Burgundy, though any red you have in stock will do.
  • Many bishop recipes call for a mix of lemon and orange juices rather than lime. Simply split the juice in the recipe between the two. 
  • The last difference is that many modern bishop cocktails are served on the rocks in a highball glass. In reality, you can serve a bishop with or without ice, depending on your mood.

How to Choose Red Wine for Mixing?

Select a red wine that you enjoy drinking by itself. Anything you like to drink can work to mix for this cocktail, but no need to use an expensive one.

How Strong Are the Bishop Cocktails?

These three bishop cocktails may look similar, but their alcohol content paints a very different picture. It's amazing what a little rum can do to the strength of a drink, as we can see when we run the numbers on the recipes.

  • The classic bishop: 27 percent ABV (54 proof)
  • The bishop punch: 11 percent ABV (22 proof)
  • The modern bishop cocktail: 9 percent ABV (18 proof)

To put these adaptations into perspective, imagine for a minute if we did not switch the rum and wine in the punch recipe. With a full bottle of rum, it would be a hefty 31 perfect ABV (62 proof). That's fine for your nightly martini, but when you're serving a crowd, it's simply too strong.