Showing posts with label Kinsale Mead Co.. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kinsale Mead Co.. Show all posts

Friday, September 29, 2023

This Kinsale Barrel Aged Mead is a lively, attractive drink with a decadent richness.

This Kinsale Barrel Aged Mead is a lively, attractive drink with a decadent richness. 

Kinsale Merlot Barrel Aged Wild Red Mead (Limited Edition) 2022, 70 cl bottle, 12% ABV 

RRP: €31.75. Stockists throughout Ireland, also in GB and NI, in Europe and beyond. Full list here.  

Mead (Miodh in Irish) is the world’s oldest alcoholic drink, unique in that its primary ingredient is honey but also incredibly diverse – it can range from dry to very sweet, which may surprise you when you think of honey as its primary ingredient. It is the world’s oldest alcoholic drink, fermented from honey and fruit and sometimes with herbs or spices added. 

Kate and Denis Dempsey are the couple behind the Kinsale Mead Company venture. In 2016, they went to work to rediscover the ancient art of mead-making and to create a world-class range of light and refreshing drinks. 

Much has been achieved since then. They have certainly opened many eyes (and palates), both here and abroad, to the flavours and possibilities of the ancient drink. Some meads have no fruit included but when it is (as is the case here), the drink is called a Melomel Mead.

Colour of this barrel-aged mead is a dark ruby with flashes of a lighter red coming through, depending on the light. Aromas are fruity, that mix of blackcurrants and cherries and a hint of the Merlot Barrel in which it spent the last year of its 3-year maturation. 

Smoothness is the initial impression on the palate, then the fruits, the cherry and the tartness of those Wexford blackcurrants well balanced with attractive forest honey notes and caramel from the Bordeaux oak barrels, a harmony that continues through to the dry finalé.

They say: it is a gorgeous 3-year-old berry mead fermented off dry and silky smooth and matured for the last 12 months in French Merlot wine barrels to add intriguing structure and depth. “An exceptional, unique mead, a lively, attractive drink with a decadent richness. ….We were over the moon when this mead won the Drink of the Year from the Irish Food Writers’ Guild in 2021…..”

It was also awarded Drink of the Year from the Irish Food Writers’ Guild.

Denis and Kate suggest it is delicious served at room temperature on its own or with fine food. Other suggestions include pairing it with cheese boards or quality chocolate, with roast duck, grilled ribs or sausages and rich tomato-based Italian dishes.

The beautiful label was inspired by the story of the “Wild Geese” Irish who emigrated in waves from Ireland to the continent at the end of the Jacobite wars and settled in France. Many of them began to start trading and making wine. Today, in Bordeaux, you can find the names of those resilient Irish emigrants on the streets and vineyards of the region – Lynch, Barton, Boyd, Phelan – alongside other trading connections to the wine ports of Ireland.

Photo from the Kinsale Wine Museum in Desmond Castle.
The museum has since closed down.

Kinsale Mead: “In a sense, we are completing the circle, bringing those precious barrels back to Ireland. Kinsale in the 18th century was a thriving port, one of several in Ireland licensed to import wines from France, Spain and Portugal. The harbour and warehouses were full of barrels of the finest wines, ports and sherries.”

Much easier in those far-off days to get your hands on an empty cask.

Click on link for all the info on the full range of their meads at Kinsale Mead Company.

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Blas na hÉireann Cork Finalists 2023 Announced

Blas na hÉireann Cork Finalists 2023 Announced

 The finalists for Blas na hÉireann, The Irish Food Awards, 2023 have been announced and the countdown is now on for the return of the awards weekend to the pretty seaside town of Dingle. The three-day event will take place from Thursday September 28th to Saturday 30th September. 

Denis and Kate of Kinsale Mead Company

After the joyous reunion of last year’s in-person event for the first time in two years, the excitement is already building and the Blas team are hard at work preparing for the arrival of food and drink producers across Ireland to celebrate the very best of Irish. 

Now in its 16th year, Blas na hÉireann saw its highest entries from across all categories along with many new producers entering the awards for the first time this year. During the judging, which took place over June and July, over 3,000 entries were judged, the highest on record.

“The Blas na hÉireann awards are the highlight of the year for Cork producers as it pits their produce against the best that this country has to offer.” said  Joe Burke, Assistant Head of Enterprise, LEO South Cork. “We are very fortunate to have such awards that provide consumers’ reassurance of the quality and excellences of our producers. Cork producers are always well represented at Blas and receive many accolades and awards. We would like to complement the hard-working committee, judges, and sponsors of the awards which without them would not be possible. The Cork Local Enterprise Offices (South, North/West & City) are glad to be one of the sponsors of the awards and wish Blas continued success.” 

The finalists shortlisted from Co. Cork across a range of different categories are Alternative Christmas Pudding Company, Andrea's Kitchen, Bandon Vale Cheese, Bantry Bay Seafoods, Blackwater Honey, Bluebell Falls ltd, Bó Rua Farm, Carbery Group, Clares Homemade Hummus, Clóna Dairy Products Ltd., Clonakilty Food Company, Clonakilty Gluten Free Kitchen, Coolmore Foods, Folláin, Fresh Fish Deli, Frodo Ltd, Gloun Cross Dairy, Hanleys Puddings Ltd, Hassetts Bakers & Confectioners ltd., Irish Yogurts Ltd, Keohane Seafoods, Kepak, Kinsale Mead Co, Kinsale Spirit, Leahys Open farm, Macroom Buffalo Cheese Products Ltd, Malay Kitchen, McCarthy's of Kanturk, Niamh's Larder, North Cork Creameries, O'Callaghan's Cafe and Deli Ltd, O'Keeffes Bakery, O'Leary's Family Butchers, On The Pigs Back, Original 7 Beverage Co, Sage Restaurant, Second Street Bakeshop, Secret Recipe Limited, Shannonvale, Silver Pail Dairy, Spice O Life Ltd, Stonewell Cider & Nohoval Apple Wine, The Good Fish Company, The Sibly Food Company, Tom Durcan Meats Ltd, Toons Bridge Dairy, Velo Coffee Roasters, Walls Chips, West Cork Distillers, Wildberry Bakery and Ardsallagh Goat's Cheese.

Mural at Sage of Midleton

Speaking as the finalists were announced, Blas na hÉireann Chairperson, Artie Clifford said, “After last year’s success, we are thrilled to be back again. The Blas Village and Eat Ireland in a Day Tents were fantastic additions and created brilliant awareness for the finalists and winners to both the public and key industry people.  Seeing so many new producers enter this year is a testament to the fantastic produce Ireland has to offer and I am looking forward to celebrating past and new finalists and winners again this year.”

This year’s Blas na hÉireann awards in Dingle will see the return of last year’s new additions including the Eat Ireland in a Day tent and the Blas Village where the 2023 finalists will get the opportunity to showcase their products, engage with customers and meet key industry buyers.


With over 3,000 products entered in this year’s Blas na hÉireann, making it as a finalist is a huge achievement and one to be very proud of. The competition ramps up year on year, meaning those producers who are short-listed as finalists really are the crème de la crème of Irish food and drink. 

For finalist producers, it is not just their exceptional food & drink which will be celebrated in Dingle but the people themselves, the passionate producers who make the very best of Irish will be recognised and rewarded making this autumn’s Blas na hÉireann a food event not to be missed! 

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Irish Food & Drink Month Launches with 140 Venues Around The Country

 Irish Food & Drink Month Launches

 with 140 Venues Around The Country

Great Irish Beverages is very proud to share details of their first Irish Food & Drink Month festival - a nationwide celebration of pairing Irish foods with Irish drinks running in October.

Pride in Irish food has never been stronger in Ireland’s hospitality sector. All across Ireland, you’ll find Irish produce taking front and centre of most menus. Few would argue that local food tastes best when enjoyed with local drinks and Ireland is no exception. Our native drinks pair wonderfully well with Irish meats, fish, farmed produce and cheeses. We want to see those drinks as well loved as the foods they share the same land with. That’s why we’re rolling out a brand new nationwide festival for all of October 2022 –  Irish Food & Drink Month.

We are working with 18 different Irish drinks brands across many sectors for this project. Throughout September, any licensed bar, restaurant or hotel was able to register for free and in order to get involved, they had to create and sell a signature Irish food & drink pairing for the month of October. They are all now live and can be seen here. Each registered venue is divided by the county and then alphabetically. The public vote for which participating venue has the best Irish food & drink pairing is now live too. People can vote by tagging the venue in a post on Instagram and using the hashtag #EatDrinkIrish. Or they can vote by posting on the Great Irish Beverages Facebook page, tagging the venue and using the #EatDrinkIrish hashtag there. Voting closes on October 31st and it’s one vote per person. The winning venue will be able to nominate a registered charity of their choice and we will give them €1,000.

Apple Tart by Dede

140 venues in 16 different counties are on board. Each venue has their own page on the Great Irish Beverages site where you can see each of their Irish food & drink pairings. They range dramatically both in venue style, choice of food, choice of drink and include:
 - Irish lobster paired with Irish Pilsner from The Seafood Café in Temple Bar to Irish lobster cooked and served with Irish whiskey from King Sitric in Howth.
- Pizzas made with Irish cured meats & cheeses and served with Dublin beers in Rascal's HQ and The Circular in Rialto
- Irish scallops paired with local lager from Mimosa Bar de Tapas in Carlow and Irish scallops paired with an Irish Whiskey Sour cocktail from Sole in Dublin.
- Cork ciders paired with Cork mussels in Casey's of Baltimore.
- Irish Apple Ice Wine served alongside Irish cheese in the 2 Michelin Star Aimsir in Kildare.
- Wild Irish venison paired with Irish Mead from Rare 1784 in Kinsale
- Irish Espresso Martinis paired with desserts from venues such as Camden Bites & Brews
- Burgers and steaks paired with pale ales and porters from Dash Burger and Bull & Castle 

Lots and lots of delicious Irish food & drink combos to be had! So why not treat yourself to something Irish in the month of October. Check out your nearest participating venue and enjoy what's best in Irish cuisine and beverages! By doing so you're bringing some much needed help to Irish businesses and producers.

Monday, March 14, 2022

Denis and Kate get bonus when Port barrels arrive. Enjoyable Barrel-Aged Kinsale Mead Tasting last week.

Denis and Kate get bonus when Port barrels arrive.

Enjoyable Barrel-Aged Kinsale Mead Tasting last week.

Denis and Kate of Kinsale Mead get a bonus when the Port barrels arrive.

During last week’s very enjoyable Barrel-Aged Mead Tasting, Kate and Denis (owners of Kinsale Mead) told us that they quite look forward to the arrival of Port barrels (known as Pipes), barrels that they use to finish ageing their Atlantic Dry Mead. Barrels are specified to be delivered “wet” and the exporters leave enough port in the barrel to fill three or four bottles! A nice little bonus indeed.

They also import other types of barrels. They prefer those with medium toast: “works best for us”. “They come after their second use, still a good bit of oak in them and we use them twice again. By the way, we lose about 8% via evaporation and leakage. Perhaps someone else in the drinks business might like to put something else into our used barrels to see what will happen!”

They founded the Kinsale Mead Company in 2016. Denis told us it is a bit like a winery in so far as equipment is concerned, expect they don’t need a pressing machine. They tell us that honey is the all-important ingredient and they get it mostly from Spain as there is not enough produced in Ireland. Denis revealed that they keep trying here and have sourced a summer honey from West Cork and the mead produced from that is maturing at present.

The tasting started surprisingly enough with the red. Of course, the Wild Red Mead was the only non-barrel aged one on the night. 

Mead #1: Wild Red Mead 12% ABV

It is a gorgeous melomel mead fermented off-dry with Irish blackcurrants, dark cherries and pure honey. An amazingly enticing drink with a beautiful, rich colour. It is delicious served at room temperature on its own or with food. All the meads are used in cocktails; the one below is just one example.

The Wexford blackcurrants, from the Jeffares farm, are beautifully balanced with the dark cherries, tempered over the hint of honey and matured to a silky smooth finish. Serve with roast duck, barbecue ribs or sausages and rich, tomato-y Italian dishes. Lovely with cheeseboards or good quality chocolate. A popular choice with wine drinkers who prefer a smoother style. Fantastic in a mulled mead for winter days.

Melomel Fruit Meads were Ireland’s medieval red wines made from native wild berries and raw honey and now created anew at Kinsale Mead Co’s meadery.

The judges really like the Wild Red Mead and it has been awarded Gold at the Blas na hEireann – Irish Food Awards, Gold at the Free From Food Awards.

Mead #2: Wild Red Mead - Merlot Barrel Aged 12%

Again, serve at room temperature. A gorgeous 3 year-old berry mead fermented off dry and silky smooth and matured for the last 12 months in Merlot oak wine barrels to add intriguing structure and depth.

"The barrels come from two of the so-called wild geese wineries in Bordeaux. We plan at some point to take a bottle over to Bordeaux and show them what mead tastes like from their barrels. The barrels were sourced from vineyards with Irish connections, known around Kinsale in particular (there is a wine museum here), as the Wine Geese term may have originated here. The label for this series, on the bottle above, is inspired by the Wine Geese."


  • Pate on thin toasted triangles (can use vegan pate eg mushroom)
  • Prosciutto or Parma ham
  • Artisan mini sausages (can use vegan sausages)


Their Atlantic Dry Mead is a delicious, off-dry traditional style mead, beautifully crisp with a lovely citrus honey flavour. Best enjoyed chilled or over ice as a pre-dinner drink. And it was used in the next two drinks to be tasted.

Mead #3 Atlantic Dry Mead - White Port Barrel Aged 12% ABV

An alluring 3-year-old traditional mead fermented from orange blossom honey from Valencia, finished crisp and honeyed, matured for the last 12 months in a oak port barrel. Enjoy this delectable, dry mead lightly chilled.

Subtle with delicate citrus on the nose, spicy on the palate, lots of honey and amaretto with oak, smooth, stone fruit character and nuttiness resonating on the palate.

Must admit I like my dry ports and so I ‘bonded” with this one immediately. Still by the finish, the Sauternes below was also becoming a favourite. Indeed, I liked all four and wouldn’t want to leave any behind if I had the choice.

Pair with:

  • Smoked Salmon crostini 
  • Mackerel or mushroom pate 
  • Sushi or sashimi 
  • Vanilla fairy cakes
  • Goatsbridge Smoked Trout
  • Poached Scallops

Atlantic Dry Mead - Sauternes Barrel Aged 12% ABV

A gorgeous 3-year-old traditional mead fermented from orange blossom honey, finished dry, crisp and honeyed, matured for the last 12 months in an oak wine barrel which had been previously used to make the famous sweet wine of Bordeaux. Barrels can range from €60 or 70 to €500 and the Sauternes barrels are not the cheapest!

The mead soaks through the barrel charring and into the French oak bringing back vanilla and caramel flavours as well as the flavours of the Sauternes that was in there before. Floral and almond aromas and a bright dry finish. 


  • Lemon Tart 
  • Salted nut selection
  • Cheese such as Durrus or Gubbeen and crackers
  • Olives

So there you are. Quite an eye-opening tasting indeed and one that means I’ll be looking more keenly when I see Kinsale Mead on a restaurant list, or in a cocktail, or indeed in an off-licence in the future. Big thanks to the hard-working Kate and Denis for the invite to join in on Zoom. 

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Kinsale Mead Co. wins Great Taste again!

 Kinsale Mead Co. wins Great Taste again!

Kinsale Mead Co storm into autumn with an impressive win. Their popular berry mead, Hazy Summer Mead, has just won a Great Taste Award 2021 to join their flagship traditional mead Atlantic Dry Mead which won 2 years ago.

“We’re delighted,” says co-founder, Denis Dempsey. “It’s been a tough time for everyone, and every acknowledgement from independent sources is a boost.”

The Great Taste Awards is one of the most trusted and prestigious awards for food and drink globally with thousands of entries, so it’s stiff competition. In summing up, the judges said, “The aroma was of rich ripe strawberries and honey, which was extremely enticing.”

“As a small, artisan company and the only meadery in Ireland, we are very proud to be able to say that Irish mead is recognised as being among the best in the world,” says co-founder, Kate Dempsey. “And we work hard to select the best, pure honey and berries to make our meads.”

The care and passion that Kinsale Mead bring to their drinks is richly rewarded by the evocative summer flavours and that thirst-quenching pour and that welcome Great Taste One-Star award. They are stocked in many Supervalus, as proud members of the Food Academy, as well as many independent off licence or specialty food store. Ask in your local store.

The medals are now displayed proudly in the meadery in Kinsale where you can see them when you visit for a tour and tasting.

Web: for online orders and stockists


Phone: 021 477 3538

Twitter/Facebook/Instagram: @KinsaleMeadCo

press release

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Mead Cocktail Recipes from Kate and Denis of the Kinsale Mead Company. Intriguing!

Mead Cocktail Recipes from Kate and Denis

 of the Kinsale Mead Company. Intriguing!

Many of you will know that Kinsale Mead are holding a series of online tastings. Cocktails keep coming up during the conversations. Kate and Denis (left) have kindly supplied some of their recipes and they look tempting! I enjoyed one of their tastings last month - details here. Keep an eye on their Facebook page here for the next one!

Bees Knees

This is a mead take on the classic 1920's prohibition era cocktail. Honey and lemon was added to mask the taste and smell of bathtub gin.

  • 1 measure of premium Irish Gin
  • 2 measures of Atlantic Dry Mead
  • ½ measure of honey syrup
  • ½ measure of fresh lemon juice

Shake and pour in a coupe cocktail glass with a lemon twist garnish.
The gins we mentioned were Beara Ocean Gin, Blacks of Kinsale, Dingle Gin and Gunpowder Gin.

Mulled Mead

A warming drink for cold winter evenings.

  • 1 bottle of Wild Red Mead
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Piece of star anise
  • Strip of orange peel
  • 2 tsp of honey to taste

Warm gently in a pan and soon the whole house will be filled with the lovely aromas. Serve in a heatproof glass. 

We're working on a version using Atlantic Dry Mead but we haven't perfected it yet. Trial and error! Watch this space. 

Mead Sangria

This Mead Sangria is summer in a glass, all year round!

  • ½ measure of Cointreau
  • 2 measures of Hazy Summer Mead
  • 1 ½ measures of cranberry juice
  • Dash of fresh lime
  • Serve over ice with an orange slice

You can substitute the Hazy Summer Mead with our Wild Red Mead. 

New mead cocktails coming so keep an eye out. We sometimes include them in our email newsletter along with other recipes such as the boozy chocolate and cranberry brownie recipe.
Not a subscriber? Subscribe on 
our sign up page.

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Blas na hÉireann 2020 winners announced!

Blas na hÉireann 2020 winners announced

Rubert Atkinson, Longueville House Beverages

In a year like no other, Blas na hÉireann announced the winners for 2020, with 34 winners from County Cork. With the annual pilgrimage to Dingle stalled, this year's winners tuned in from every corner of the country for a virtual celebration of the very best in Irish food. 


The team at Blas na hÉireann have been working tirelessly since March to ensure that Blas 2020 went ahead, maintaining their commitment to celebrating the very best in Irish food and drink. Chairperson Artie Clifford feels that now, more than ever, it is essential to shine a light and give that all important boost to the talented producers dotted around the island.


Sandra and Joe, Joe's Farm Crisps

The bronze, silver and gold winners from Cork across a range of different categories are Baked 4 U, Bandonvale, Bó Rua Farm, Caherbeg Free Range Pork Ltd., Centra - Inspired by Centra Made in store Salads, Coolmore Foods, Fitzgerald’s Butchers, Follain, Fresh Fish Deli, Glenilen Farm, Gloun Cross Dairy, Hanleys Puddings Ltd., Irish Yogurts, JDS Foods, Joe's Farm Crisps, Keohane Seafoods, Kepak, Kinsale Mead Co., Longueville House Beverages, Nohoval Drinks Co.Ltd T/as Stonewell Cider, Ó Crualaoi Feoil Teo, O’Keeffe’s Bakery, O'Herlihy’s Bacon Ltd., On The Pigs Back (La Charcuterie Irlandaise Ltd.), Rebel Chilli, Saturday Pizzas, Skeaghanore West Cork Farm, Spice O Life Ltd., The English Market, The Good Fish Company, Trace Of Cakes, Velo Coffee Roasters and West Cork Eggs Ltd. with Kepak winning best in county.


Winning again

Now in their 13th year, the Blas na hÉireann awards are the all-island food awards that recognise the very best Irish food and drink products, and the passionate people behind them. The biggest blind tasting of produce in the country, the criteria on which the product is judged as well as the judging system itself, which was developed by Blas na hÉireann with the Food Science Dept of UCC and the University of Copenhagen, is now recognised as an industry gold standard worldwide.


Speaking after the announcements Artie mentioned, “The founding mission of Blas – establishing quality benchmarks for Irish produce on a level playing field – was strictly adhered to and measurably applied again this year despite the challenges we have all faced. We thank all our judges for their rigour and commitment, and as always we thank all our wonderful participants, producers and sponsors. While we missed our annual gathering in Dingle, we will join together to cheer on our colleagues and friends that were successful in this year’s awards and hope that it won’t be long before we can gather in Dingle once again.”


Kinsale Mead

Products from every county in Ireland were entered into this year’s competition to win Gold, Silver or Bronze Blas na hÉireann awards in over 140 food and drink categories, as well as key awards like Supreme Champion and Best Artisan Producer.

See all the 2020 winners here.