Mary R. lived in Chicago one century ago, her attitude was modern, innovative and colourful even by today’s standards. Extremely attractive, she enjoyed being “a different kind of woman”. She liked to dress provocatively in the “flapper” style, or – in contrast – sometimes with men’s clothes like Marlene Dietrich would do only a few years later.


She liked to smoke in public, she led her life with carefree spirit and with no constraints, and enjoyed the company of both men and women. Mary was never mentioned as anyone’s woman, but always on her own, and every time she decided to date someone, she did it with a libertine attitude.

She simply considered herself – and was – better than most men who surrounded her: no one was “enough” to be the only one in her life.


She had started her career as a vaudeville dancer after a brief period in classical ballet, but – thanks to her smart brains, wit and acumen – she soon became acquainted with politicians, police officers, artists… and this is how she came to know the nightlife of Chicago, her hometown. 


In the Roaring Twenties, the USA were in turmoil: a decade of technological progress and growth, after the gloomy times of WWI. A period of innovation, of expanding industries and rising economic powers.


A historic period which was setting the roots of modern American society, with its internal contradictions, immigration, social mobility, disparity of wealth.


Masses moving from the countryside to the big industrial towns, with the power of media (newspapers, radio and cinema) starting to establish their foothold.


A decade of innovation in music, too, with jazz spreading among people and laying the foundations of American popular music. But also a time marked by the rising criminality, of poverty contrasting with the accumulated wealth of some, of financial excesses which would then lead to a terrifying stock market crisis.


And of course, the decade of the drastic measure of Prohibition, to protect the  uneducated from the dangers of alcohol…

Such a draconian decision was of course destined to fuel illegality, subterranean subterfuge, clandestine distillation and the diffusion of low-quality spirits.


Nightclubs turned into secret and hidden “speakeasies” serving illegal alcoholic beverages, while jazz music was played, and guests were entertained with dance numbers.


All major towns had hundreds of illegal places like these, but only the best ones had access to contraband stock of high quality whiskey, Champagne, etc… while the lower-level speakeasies – often run by gangsters – served home-made rotgut, distilled in precarious ways and leading to severe health issues. But there was an alternative way to stay “legal”, dancing on the thin line allowed by the law…


When Mary decided to open her own speakeasy, she could already count on the wise savings from her stage career, a wide base of friends and customers, and support and protection from all her influential friends. Mary liked good whiskey, and under Prohibition the only way to have it was from Pharmacists, through the Prescription of a Doctor.


Mary partnered with the legendary figure of “The Doctor”, a reknown physician who could arrive to write 500 prescriptions a day!


With the fundamental help of “The Doctor” who was one of her closest friends, her speakeasy – in a well concealed basement – became reknown as “Mary’s Prescription”.


Since the whiskey was supposed to have medical virtues, she jokingly referred to her customers as “Patients”! And the miraculous medicine that would medicate all maladies, including the blues, became “Mary’s Prescription Whiskey”: not the pungent moonshine of other speakeasies, but the real deal, properly distilled and aged.


Mary’s Prescription became the choice place for artists, politicians and “people that mattered”.


Mary’s nephews still retain copies of the original Prescriptions of the whiskey that “The Doctor” was supplying to Mary in large number.


We know that some of the details in this story passed through generations could be not real, but as John Ford had one of his characters say: “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend”.


We are paying homage to Mary and her defiant attitude, by offering a Tennessee whiskey that’s genuine, elegant, and with a bit of rebel spirit.


A whiskey made in small batches, with local and non-GMO ingredients.


We won’t go as far as Mary did by saying that it has medical qualities, but we are keeping its “Prescription Whiskey” name as a homage to a great woman of 100 years ago who fascinated us with her “spirit”.

Enjoy responsibly

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