Join us for March’s’s Society of Midland Authors event at The Cliff Dwellers.

David Witter explores how liquor has influenced nearly two centuries of Chicago’s existence.

WHATDistilled in Chicago: A History
WHO: David Witter in conversation with Gerry Plecki
WHEN: Tuesday, March 14, 2023; cocktails 6-7 p.m., and program 7-8 p.m.
WHERE: The Cliff Dwellers, 200 S Michigan Ave., 22nd floor penthouse

COST: Free & open to all; $5 donation suggested

ABOUT THE BOOK: From the mash in pioneer stills to the Malört in a hipster’s shot glass, David Witter explores how liquor has influenced nearly two centuries of Chicago’s existence. Follow the trickle of alcohol through Chicago’s history, starting with the town’s first three permanent businesses: The Wolf, Green Tree, and Eagle Exchange Taverns. Stir together stories from the Peoria Whiskey Trust and the Temperance Movement. The cocktails that lubricated the Levee District may have set up Chicago’s first gangsters, but Prohibition-era bootleggers would change the city’s identity forever. Post-Prohibition alcohol helped to create vast fortunes for Chicago based families and corporations, and the new Millennium saw KOVAL usher in a new era small and craft distilleries throughout Chicagoland. Sample a spirited history of the Windy City.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: David Witter is a Chicago-based author who has written four books on Chicago history: Oldest Chicago I, Oldest Chicago II, Chicago Magic: A History of Stagecraft and Spectacle, and his latest, Distilled Chicago: A History (The History Press, 2022). His writing on Chicago has appeared in many publications, including New City, the Chicago Reader, and the Washington Post.

IN CONVERSATION WITH GERRY PLECKI: Gerry Plecki currently serves as SMA president. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1979 and was awarded an NEH Post-Doctoral Fellowship at New York University. He has written articles on music and film criticism. His previous books were Robert Altman, which was an authoritative analysis of the director’s films, and Singing in the Rain: The Definitive Story of Woodstock at Fifty, which was published in July 2019. His latest book, Test Positive: Surviving COVID-19 in the Reign of Trump, was published on October 17, 2020.

More information at