Alex Conyngham didn’t have a typical childhood. For starters, he grew up in a fortress — Slane Fortress — his household’s ancestral dwelling for the reason that early 1700s, situated 30 miles north of Dublin. Then there’s considered one of his formative childhood recollections: when Eire’s most well-known band, U2, moved in to report their album, The Unforgettable Hearth, within the drawing room. Alex remembers sneaking downstairs along with his siblings within the early morning hours to play with the band’s devices, throwing all of them out of tune.
Encounters like this don’t appear so far-fetched as soon as you discover out that, in 1981, when Alex was six, his father Henry launched what shortly turned Eire’s premier rock and roll competition, the Slane Fortress Live shows (identified merely as Slane to the Irish), on the property’s sprawling entrance yard. Within the years that adopted, Alex’s youth was punctuated yearly with visits from rock royalty and tens of hundreds of revelers exterior his bed room window. The live shows have seen the likes of the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Queen, Bruce Springsteen, Metallica and, in fact, U2 take the stage, and have welcomed over a million individuals in its 40 yr historical past. Most not too long ago, this previous June, Slane took a contemporary flip with Harry Kinds headlining the present.
Quick forwarding into maturity, Alex attended college in Cape City the place he earned an MBA, moved to Australia the place he labored as a model ambassador for Jameson Irish Whiskey, then returned dwelling to Eire and later turned a founding member of the Irish Whiskey Affiliation. It wasn’t till 2017 that Alex’s profession in whiskey actually took form, when he turned co-founder and director of Slane Irish Whiskey, a enterprise created in partnership with Jack Daniel’s father or mother firm. Along with Brown-Forman, Alex helped craft the Slane model (closely infused with Slane Fortress’s rock and roll ethos), their signature mix (a triple-distilled, triple-casked whiskey aged in virgin oak, seasoned oak and sherry casks), and their distillery (housed in stunning, outdated stone barns and stables on the fortress grounds).
As of late, Slane Fortress is now not the household dwelling. It’s a venue for varied endeavors like weddings and eating, plus nightly lodging. Alex, nonetheless, stays shut. He, alongside along with his spouse and youngsters, reside on Rock Farm Slane, a 90-acre natural farm on the property. Right here, his entrepreneurial spirit can be evident with the property enjoying host to a number of glamping sties and its very personal burgeoning music competition referred to as Otherside. However nonetheless, whiskey stays on the forefront, with the farm yearly producing 2,000 tons of spring barley that’s used as the bottom of the distillate for Slane expressions.
When Alex isn’t using a tractor or main a bartender coaching session on the distillery, he may be discovered touring the world because the face of Slane Irish Whiskey. Naturally, this work has introduced him numerous occasions to one of many world’s largest and finest bar cities, New York. And naturally, as a metropolis well-known for its Irish heritage and Irish Bars, we have been curious to know the place Alex the Irishman and whiskey aficionado drinks whereas on the town.
Alex Conyngham’s 7 Favourite Bars in New York Metropolis
Whereas Alex may lead a pub crawl round Dublin along with his eyes closed, he is aware of his manner round NYC too. Right here’s his listing of go-to watering holes, which embrace a mixture of tried-and-true classics and neighborhood spots that received’t disappoint.
“This can be a snug, go-to spot within the West Village with an old-school inside that immediately makes you are feeling at dwelling (I like the sunshine that comes via the large window on the entrance). They’ve among the finest Irish whiskey collections in New York Metropolis, a formidable listing of world whiskeys, and an distinctive burger. My go-to order is sort of all the time Slane’s core expression, which I sip neat with the burger juices working down my chin. Their bartenders even have a robust information of world whiskeys and so they love problem so I’ll sometimes sit on the bar. Plus, if I’m having a cocktail, they’ll all the time ask the fitting inquiries to get you to the proper drink. Throughout, it’s a really laid-back spot, however the service is second to none.”
“What I like about Analogue is that it truly is a laid-back, casual bar with a relaxed environment and top-class cocktails. Whereas that’s not a very unusual mixture, not many bars nail it effectively, and Analogue actually pulls it off. Their menu leads with conventional and fashionable classics just like the Espresso Martini and the Spritz, however they put a really good twist on all of them. I like traditional, three-ingredient cocktails and the Analogue crew executes these to a really excessive normal. They’ve an infinite listing of world whiskeys, together with a wide array of Irish whiskeys to strive, and the bartenders are educated on every of the classes. My go-to drink is unquestionably the Tipperary, the traditional Irish three-ingredient cocktail. Should you’re hungry, their Potato Pave with duck fats potatoes and asparagus is a improbable pairing.”
“McSorley’s Previous Ale Home wants no introduction. It’s not only a bar, it’s an expertise and an East Village establishment that has been there for nearly 170 years. A pleasant break from whiskey and cocktails, they solely serve two drinks right here — both darkish or gentle ales served in a conventional tin tankard. For the total expertise, order the cheese and cracker plate, which is a humble providing of saltine crackers straight from the pack alongside squares of cheddar. I’ve had some fantastic conversations with nice associates right here and the house owners have carried out a superb job of retaining its genuine historical past. And as somebody who has the accountability of caring for heritage that dates again to the early 1700s, it’s pretty to see a spot that has labored so exhausting on doing the identical. Nothing has modified in right here because it opened, and so it shouldn’t.”
“I’ve been touring to New York with Slane for a couple of years now and Swift is all the time a should. They serve a stellar pint of Guinness and host nice reside, conventional Irish music periods with rock and roll performed in between. The bartenders right here know their Irish whiskey exceptionally effectively and so they actually respect the class. Should you’re fortunate sufficient to satisfy Robbie behind the bar, he’ll combine you a improbable cocktail and can all the time be sporting a cracking rock-and-roll T-shirt from his very respectable assortment. My go-to order right here must be Guinness, as a result of it truly is that good, paired with a sausage roll (actual consolation meals). I additionally take pleasure in taking my Mum right here at any time when she’s on the town as a result of it’s similar to a house away from dwelling.”
“The Blue Observe Jazz Membership opened in 1981, which was additionally the yr of the primary Slane rock live performance. That is an fascinating one for me as a result of Slane’s roots are in music, so I really feel there’s a unusual parallel right here at any time when I step inside. The Blue Observe is the place for jazz, but it surely’s place to listen to different sorts of music as effectively. I feel reside music venues should be nurtured and this one is an icon — it attracts nice performers however you by no means know who you’re going to see there as a result of well-known members of the viewers usually take the stage on any given evening. My favourite cocktail right here is the Whiskey on the Rockey’s (Irish whisky with Rockey’s Botanical Liqueur) paired with the traditional New York Strip Steak.”
“This bar has carried out a lot for Irish whiskey in New York Metropolis. It’s the place for a extremely elevated cocktail expertise, together with an intriguing inside and scrumptious meals. It additionally holds a really particular place for me as a result of we launched Slane Whiskey right here in 2017. Additionally in 2017, we introduced a little bit of the Useless Rabbit magic again to Eire when the bar’s founders, Jack McGarry and Sean Muldoon (who I actually admire for all they’ve achieved of their careers), came visiting to bartend for us throughout that yr’s Slane live performance, which was headlined by Weapons N’ Roses. By way of my order, The Useless Rabbit crew is aware of their craft so effectively that I go away it as much as them to resolve on my cocktail, however I can by no means resist considered one of their Scotch eggs!”
“Fraunces Tavern is without doubt one of the oldest bars in New York Metropolis and it’s filled with character and heritage. One in every of my favourite occasions to go to is throughout winter as a result of you’ll be able to go for a stroll alongside the waterfront in Battery Park, benefit from the pretty view of the Statue of Liberty within the distance, then slip into the welcoming heat of the tavern. Pair their killer Irish Espresso (which tastes even higher once you’ve simply are available from the chilly) with the Gradual Roasted Hen Pot Pie of their stunning, wood-paneled major eating space and also you’ve acquired the proper winter meal. It’s additionally price sneaking into the Dingle Whiskey Bar, which is a stunning cosy contained in the tavern with a formidable assortment of over 500 totally different Irish whiskeys. And whereas in addition they have a superb reside music schedule within the Piano Bar Upstairs, for me, it’s all in regards to the good dialog right here.”
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