A new spirit in Cork 

After weeks of Halloween shenanigans, the ghouls and goblins (both commercial and otherwise) have shuffled off for another year.

Not all spirits are of the spectral variety, however.  On Tuesday, Nov 12, Zaconey is being let out of the bottle at Reardens of Washington Street, Cork. The drink is a new ‘retro’ spirit infused with American bourbon and natural flavours and will be on sale throughout the city immediately after its launch. “It’s not like any spirit you’ve ever tasted,” its makers claim.

Chefs of the future 

Euro-toques has announced the finalists for its Young Chef of the Year 2013 competition, and they face-off  on Monday, Nov 4, at a pop-up in Dublin’s Cooks Academy. Mark Moriarty (The Greenhouse), Kevin Burke (Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud), Paula Leavy (Locks Brasserie), Brian O’Flaherty (Restaurant Forty One) and Gráinne O’Keefe (Pichet) will be riffing on the theme of ‘Your memory on a plate in a gastro pub style’. The final itself takes place Nov 24, when fittingly — given that two female chefs have made the shortlist — judges will include Elena Arzak of San Sebastian’s legendary three-star restaurant, Arzak.

A Taste of Wednesday 

Christmas came early for Mount Juliet this year, in the shape of a Michelin Star for its Lady Helen Restaurant. Hotel and restaurant are pricey propositions, but it’s possible to get a flavour of both at a reduced rate with the Blue Book property’s ‘Taste of Wednesday’ offer. It bundles B&B with Cormac Rowe’s eight-course tasting menu from €250 for two. That price includes accommodation in a superior room and glass of prosecco, but you’ll have to pay extra for the wine pairings (€29pp). See mountjuliethotelkilkenny.com for more.

Pop-ups and small producers 

Heard of the Guerrilla Gourmet Club? If not, an upcoming event at the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin (Nov 15) could be the time to check it out. The moveable feast aims to showcase Ireland’s finest — and often smallest — producers, with the latest menu created by restaurant critic Ross Golden-Bannon and Temple Garner of San Lorenzo’s. Anchor and fledgling artisans are given equal emphasis on a €75pp menu that includes wine & tasting beers. See facebook.com/TheGuerrillaGourmetClub for more.

Neven Maguire’s next trick 

Is Neven Maguire the hardest-working chef in show business? As well as heading up his renowned MacNean House & Restaurant, Maguire has been busy promoting a new book The Nation’s Favourite Food (Gill & MacMillan, €22.99), has signed a three-year deal for his RTÉ show to broadcast on PBS in the US, and is about to launch his latest venture — a cookery school — at home base in Blacklion, Co Cavan. The Menu will bring further details, along with courses Maguire intends to teach, when they emerge from the oven.

PS. The Irish Restaurant Awards 

Right now, the Restaurants Association of Ireland is putting together its next Irish Restaurant Awards. Readers can email ]info@rai.ie[/url] with suggestions to freshen them up!

Beer of the week:

Franciscan Well Rebel Red, 330ml, 4.3% ABV — €2.49

Stockists: Bradleys, North Main St, Galvins, No 21, Limerick Fine Wines, Deveneys.

Franciscan Well Rebel Red and Friar Weisse are finally appearing in bottle in reasonable quantities this month. Rebel Red is also available from cask in the original brew pub and in some outlets around the country (eg, WJ Kavanaghs, Dorset St, Dublin).

Made with pale malt and gold and fuggles hops, the bottled version seems crisper with a roasted malt aroma and hints of toffee apple. Caramel and sweet-bitter malt on the palate and a dry, hoppy kick on the finish.

— Leslie Williams

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