Why can't I buy a mini bottle of liquor in Chicago?

Why can't I buy a mini bottle of liquor in Chicago?

I’m a Chicagoan…born and raised. In addition to loving mustard-only hot dogs, Garrett’s popcorn, and ribs, I’m also a great Chicago historian and ambassador.

TRIVIA QUESTION: Can you name at lease three things that are illegal to purchase in Chicago?



ANSWERS INCLUDE: fireworks, spray paint, livestock, small bottles of alcohol (spirits under 200 milliliters), single serve beer in containers less than 24 fluid ounces, and loose cigarettes

If I had asked you this question last year, you could have included guns. If I had asked you this question last month, you could also have included Happy Hour drink specials.

Every time I buy liquor in the suburbs or fly on an airplane, I get irritated that I can’t purchase 50 and 100 mL size bottles of liquor (AKA ‘nips’ or ‘minis’) in my fair city. You know the cute miniature bottles you can purchase on an airplane or in any suburb surrounding Chicago, but not inside the city limits. This gem of a law was passed in 1980’s because some community leaders complained about the miniature bottles littering their neighborhoods. In lieu of fining the liquor stores that didn’t clean up (which would have been an effective solution for the problem), the politicians decided to ban the small bottles. Now instead of seeing mini bottles littering your streets, you get to see large bottles masquerading as lawn art.

Now I know what you’re saying…WHO CARES? I know Chicago’s ordinance to ban the miniature liquor bottles is not an infringement on my constitutional rights and it isn’t worthy of a Supreme Court decision like in the case of handguns, but I still want the law changed. There are a lot of people disenfranchised by this injustice. WHO?…You may ask. Well, let me tell you…

1) People who like to cook – Recipes often call for an ounce or two of liquor. I should be able to go to my local grocery store and buy a mini bottle for a couple of bucks. I don’t want to drive to the suburbs or have to shell out $20 or more for a big bottle in the city. I still have a bottle of E&J brandy left over from spiking last year’s eggnog. And that Grand Marnier chicken recipe sounds delicious, but I refuse to pay more money for one ingredient than I’m paying for the meat so I guess I’ll just stick to orange chicken.

2) Senior citizens – In researching my “mini” crusade, I found an article about a elderly man in North Chicago who is also outraged by this stupid law. He said sometimes he just wants a little taste of something, but he doesn’t want a big bottle. And since the elderly are often on a limited income, it would nice if they weren’t forced to purchase the larger and more expensive sizes. In the article, he is quoted as saying “A man has a right to buy what he wants.” Here, Here!

3) People who give cute gifts – Picture it…Secret Santa Office Grab Bag…$25 budget. You spend $22 on a nice pair of gloves. What can you buy with the remaining $3? A miniature bottle of liquor would make the perfect stocking stuffer if only you didn’t have to spend $5 in gas driving to the suburbs to buy it.

4) Sick people – There is nothing like a hot totty (or hot tottie…whichever is your spelling preference) when you’re under the weather. It’s like a warm hug. I’m already spending $50 on dayquil, nightquil, Emergen C and whatever else is in my get-well regime. I’d like to buy a couple of minis of whiskey for my hot tea. (I know I could use the left over Christmas brandy, but I don’t want to. I prefer Jack Daniels in my totty.)

5) Liquor store owners – Give them a break. They already have to deal with a bunch of alcoholics and bureaucrats giving them crap all the time. They’re losing sales to lower taxes and more options in the suburbs. Legalizing minis will give the liquor store owners another source of revenue. And guess what bureaucrats…that’s another source of revenue for the city!

6) People pissed about the parking meters, red light cameras and speed cameras – These parking meter rates and cameras are the biggest rip off of ALL TIME. I have to pay $20 to park downtown for 5 minutes while Former Mayor Daley makes a mint working at the law firm that negotiated this bogus deal. And don’t get me started on the red light/speed camera money trap-n-grab. The good citizens of Chicago are getting screwed so can you at least let us buy a mini to soothe the pain?

7) People who hate dumb laws – In December 1933, Prohibition was repealed. In June 2014, New York killed the proposed ban on big sodas. In June 2015, Illinois repealed the ban on Happy Hour drink specials. YAY! Now, I’d like Chicago to repeal the ban on “mini” bottles of liquor.

Support The “Mini” Crusade to overturn this Chicago ordinance by clicking the like button, tell your alderman you want MINIS, and spread the word!



Deanna Burrell is the author of the best-selling novel, Single Girl Summer.

 Described as “Waiting to Exhale” meets “Sex and the City”, your summer won’t be complete without it. Click here to download Single Girl Summer now!

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