FANCY something cool, smooth and refreshing? Then perhaps the varieties of alcoholic ice cream on offer at the Mowbray caf, Stonegate, York could be just the ticket.

Owner John McKendrick - who is more used to selling pizza slices and paninis to his hungry customers - has tried his hand at mixing some fine concoctions with genuine spirits and liqueurs for an icy booze blast.

To be fair, the ice creams notch up at just over one per cent alcohol but they do retain much of the flavour of their devilish ingredients.

The top-seller is the double fudge Baileys with a whole bottle of the Irish cream mixed into every ten litre batch.

But there's also Malibu madness, rum and raisin, tiramisu coffee liqueur and brown bread and whisky made with eight-year-old Scotch.

John, who took over the business 18 months ago with his wife Jill, said many customers like to eat the melting ice cream from a glass on hot days.

He says: "They have gone down very well, especially with the ladies, who love the Baileys ice cream."

The caf has also extended its opening hours on weekends to fill a gap in the York drinking and eating market.

Night owls can pop in for a panini, pizza slice, jacket spud or even spare ribs as late as 2am, depending on how busy the streets are.

John says: "It's just somewhere to meet, we have relaxed music and candles and people like to come in and talk. We also offer something different to a late-night burger or kebab."

Well there's food for thought for all of York's drinking fraternity.

- WE'VE all heard of the take-away coffee that comes with a label warning it may be hot, and the packet of salted peanuts declaring "may contain nuts" - well now drinkers could be alerted to fish in their beer.

European bureaucrats have pushed forward proposals to have all pumps and bottles labelled with "contains fish products" because of the use of a product called isinglass.

Bar Talk is told this is a form of gelatine made from fish bladders which has been used in the process of brewing beer and wine for centuries. Apparently, there are no cases of allergic reactions recorded.

Yorkshire and Humber MEP Timothy Kirkhope claims micro-breweries could be forced out of business by the proposals, because of the major cost of altering the pumps.

But thankfully it appears the European Commission has now agreed to alter its proposals to remove the labelling threat to isinglass.

Fish products have been used since the ancient Egyptians to improve the quality of their drinks and as they say, if it aint broke, don't fix it.

- ARE there spirits in York Brewery, the pub that brings you Centurion Ghost ale? Well last time we checked there was certainly vodka, but staff are curious about whether there is more than that, and so they are letting a team of ghost hunters hold an all-night vigil in the cellars next Friday.

Among the privileged few will be one or two journalists, including a representative of Bar Talk (it's tough work here sometimes). And no, they aren't just going along for the chance to spend an entire night in a brewery, it is all in a good cause too, as hunters are being sponsored for York's SNAPPY.

More sponsors would be very welcome, so if any people or companies want to donate some money to a good cause please contact Liggin' Lacy at

Updated: 08:58 Saturday, June 14, 2003