When in Dublin, drink whiskey—you don't need to tell us twice. But if you ask Google (and who doesn't?), you'd think that the best experience was the logo-laden Jameson whiskey distillery tour. We don't begrudge you the big-industry bottles, but there's so much more of the good stuff to be had in Dublin!
To help us figure out how the locals savor their spirits, we caught up with Alex Conyngham, co-founder and director of Slane Irish Whiskey. Slane dubs itself "a rock 'n roll take on Ireland's legendary spirit" (the whiskey's namesake Slane Castle hosts an annual concert that's featured everyone from The Rolling Stones to Bob Dylan). This isn't going to be your typical guidebook tour.
What sets Irish whiskey apart from other whiskeys?
Its smooth nature makes it very approachable and yet there is a great complexity of flavor profiles within the category.
What are your top places for drinking whiskey in Dublin?
What's the number one mistake people make when ordering whiskey?
In a good Irish bar, not asking the bartender for advice—they know their whiskeys and it's a great way to discover new ones.
What typical Irish food pairs best with whiskey?
My brother Wolfe is a chef and he put me on to pairing it with black pudding—it works a treat. Also, cheese. We have great cheeses in Ireland and at Slane Distillery we offer an Irish cheese plate to enjoy your whiskey with.
Where should visitors go to learn more about Irish whiskey?
The Whiskeys of Ireland by Peter Mulryan is a great read. When in Dublin, a visit to the Irish Whiskey Museum on College Green is worthwhile but nothing beats visiting any of the working distilleries, including Slane.
Top things to do in Dublin, not related to whiskey?
A visit to my old university, Trinity College and its Long Room and Book of Kells are a must. The Little Museum of Dublin gives a quirky, authentic and engaging take on the history of Dublin. The city also boasts an outstanding theatre scene and so it's worth checking out what productions are on.
Best day trip from Dublin?
For me, it would be a trip to the Boyne Valley where you can visit 9,000 years of history including the ancient passage tombs of Bru Na Boinne (which predate the Egyptian pyramids), kayak on the River Boyne and visit Slane Distillery, For food options, check out Boyne Valley Food Series.
What Irish slang can make you pass for a local?
If something is outstandingly good, then call it 'savage.'
What did you eat for school lunch as a kid?
Our school food wasn't the best with lots of fried food and I’m a bit of a fruit bat so I would smuggle that in – I got busted once with a melon.
What's your favorite way to drink whiskey?
I'm partial to Slane Irish Whiskey in a tumbler filled with plenty of ice. I love the way the whiskey opens up as the ice slowly melts.
Alex Conyngham is Co-Founder & Director of Slane Irish Whiskey, a rock 'n roll take on Ireland's legendary spirit. Created in partnership with Brown-Forman, it honors Irish craftsmanship traditions while embracing innovative techniques. Alex's expertise spans entrepreneurialism, distilling and farming, which are rooted in the Conyngham family's three centuries of ties to the village of Slane. He travels the world as the face and voice of Slane Irish Whiskey. He resides on the Slane family farm with his wife, Carina, and their children, whom he enjoys taking to school. In a typical day, Alex may be riding a tractor in the morning and leading a bartender training session in the afternoon.