“While I love the creativity of telling stories on television,” Van Brunt Stillhouse proprietor Daric Schlesselman told us, “one of the things I find frustrating about television is it’s so ephemeral. Once you tell a story, it’s sort of gone. My hobbies have always been cooking, brewing beer, and growing things in the garden, and I always got great satisfaction from that tangible, touchable thing. So I decided a number of years ago that I wanted to take a leap and start being a distiller.”
As an editor for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Schlesselman has plenty of experience with improvisation and creativity, but now those skills are being put to a new test as he runs his one-man distillery in Red Hook. In only a few years of production, Schlesselman has created a diverse resume of spirits, beginning with his Due North Rum made from unprocessed cane sugar. Following that, Schlesselman released Red Hook Grappa and Van Brunt Stillhouse American Whiskey. Now, he’s producing a malt whiskey, moonshine, and a rye bourbon, currently aging in sea-side barrels.
In the video below, Schlesselman walks us through the process of malting barley and fermenting his whiskey, and he chats with us about the satisfaction of crafting a lasting, tasty product.