by Freddy Tran Nager, Founder of Atomic Tango + Amateur Mixologist…
Let’s drink a toast to men of creativity and humor 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 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 likely 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!”