US Forest Service Cocktail Construction Chart

17 October 2017

Cheers To The U.S. Forest Service: The Cocktail Construction Chart

by Freddy Tran Nager, Founder of Atomic Tango + Amateur Mixologist…

Let’s drink a toast to creative people in official positions.

More specifically, let’s drink a toast to Cleve Colbert “Red” Ketcham, the late great U.S. Forest Service Regional Engineer who gave us, for perpetuity, the Cocktail Construction Chart. Immortalized in the U.S. National Archives Catalog as item #7035823 (download your copy of the Cocktail Construction Chart here), the chart was created shortly after Nixon resigned in 1974 — a very good reason to celebrate.

Given the names of the people who approved it (I Mixum, Jim Beam, I P Freely), Ketcham produced the Cocktail Chart as a joke, but his creation remains one of the finest federal works of that time — and perhaps of all time (definitely better than anything we’ve seen lately).

So here’s to you, Red. May our country forever honor the official dictum inscribed on your chart: “Whatever you mix, take care — the drink you mix may be your own!”


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Freddy is the Founder & Creative Strategist of Atomic Tango. He also teaches graduate-level marketing communication courses at the University of Southern California (go Trojans!), shoots pool somewhat adequately, and herds cats. Freddy received his BA from Harvard and his MBA from USC.

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