Giving a sip: Red Hook distillery lets drinkers sample new small-batch whiskey

The Brooklyn Paper
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Next blizzard, don’t get stuck at home with regular whiskey.

Brooklyn grown-ups prepping for their next snow day can enjoy free samples of whiskey at a celebratory tasting of a Red Hook distillery’s second-ever concoction on Feb. 23 at the Bell House in Gowanus

“This is just a very, very small batch handcrafted malt whiskey made with care and love,” said Daric Schlesselman, owner and distiller of Van Brunt Stillhouse.

Here’s how small that batch is: there are only 60 gallons, or about 50 cases, of this whiskey in existence.

It’s the first malt whiskey from the brand new distillery. Its only previous whiskey was an American-style whiskey released in December; later this year, it will release a rye whiskey as well.

The malt whiskey taste is a bit like a scotch whisky, but oakier, because it is aged in a new, small barrel instead of a large, used bourbon barrel, Schlesselman said.

Schlesselman — who just opened the distillery in early 2012 after working as a video editor at “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” — acknowledges he’s lucky. After all, some distilleries in Red Hook were badly damaged by Hurricane Sandy.

But Van Brunt Stillhouse didn’t even get flooded — fortuitously, for a business so small that it has only four employees, including Schlesselman and his wife.

It’s something worth celebrating — drink in hand.

Whiskey Tasting at Bell House [149 Seventh St. between Second and Third avenues in Gowanus, (718) 643–6510,]. Feb. 23, 5-8 pm. Free.

Reach reporter Jaime Lutz at or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow her on Twitter @jaime_lutz.
Updated 5:40 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

JAY from NYC says:
hmm interesting, the article says he opened the distillery in 2012, usually whiskey of quality (Scotch, Sour Mash, Bourbon, or Irish, etc) is aged a lot longer than a year, anybody know anything else about this brand? Any good? Is this a single malt or blended?
How about the Brooklyn paper next time send some one who knows the subject a bit? I think the phrase you journos use is background research? These are all question that anyone who likes whiskey and is willing to pay a few bucks for it would ask.
Feb. 18, 2013, 11:06 pm
spock from the uss enterprise says:
Feb. 21, 2013, 6 pm
Daric Schlesselman from Red Hook says:
Jay- You ask some very relevant questions. To answer the easy questions, our Malt whiskey is a Single Malt and young whiskey does have a different flavor profile than older whiskies. Come to one of our tasting events at a local retailer or come for a tour on the second Sunday of every month and we can chat about what small distillers bring to the table over whiskey factories. -Daric Schlesselman, Craft Distiller
Feb. 25, 2013, 10:26 am
Laura from Red Hook says:
The next tour at the distillery is March 10th, 2013 at 3pm -hope to see you there!
Feb. 26, 2013, 6:43 pm

Comments closed.

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