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Mystery over 1974 cocktail chart

A chart produced in 1974 by the US Forest Service on how to construct cocktails has bizarrely ended up in the US National Archives, leaving the internet scratching its head as to its purpose within such an organisation.

The 1974 document titled Cocktail Construction Chart was discovered in the National Archives online collection last week by website Kottke, and quickly sparked debate as to why the US Forest Service would commission and publish such a document, given that cocktail-making seems entirely irrelevant to the profession.

The chart uses technical drawings to detail the specific measurements of a variety of cocktails including a Tom Collins, Daiquiri, Rob Roy, Zombie and Manhattan, along with appropriate garnishes and mixers.

One of the more unusual serves was the Stars and Stripes, also known as Aw Heck, a sweet cocktail comprised of one third grenadine, one third cream and one third Creme Yvette – a liqueur made from parma violet petals with blackberries, red raspberries, wild strawberries and cassis, honey, orange peel and vanilla.

Production of the 100-year-old liqueur stopped in 1969, however it was recently resurrected by Rob Cooper, creator of St. Germain elderflower liqueur, in 2009 after a 40 year hiatus.

Speaking to Esquire Larry Chambers, the National Press Officer for the US Forest Service, explained that former Forest Service Region 8 Engineer Cleve “Red” Ketcham, who passed away in 2005, is thought to be responsible.

The signature of Ketcham, who worked at the organisation between 1974 and 1980, is scribbled in the centre of the chart. Sharon Phillips, a longtime program management analyst for the US Forest Service, said Ketcham was certainly the author of the chart and probably created it as a “joke” speculating that it probably got “mixed up with some legitimate stuff and ended up in the Archives.”

Chambers admitted that even the US Forest Service was “surprised” it had made it into the Archives, which he said after 1946 began to be more vigilant about what passed for preservation.

“This is the sort of thing our historian expected should have been tossed in the can”, Chambers said.

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