FeatureAuthor: Steven Shaw
1974 was a memorable year in U.S. History. Nixon resigned, Charles Lindbergh died, the Godfather Part II premiered on the big screen, the Oakland A’s won the World Series and United States Forest Service Civil Engineer by the name of Cleve “Red” Kethcam drafted the official and potentially only USFS “Cocktail Construction” chart.
The booze guide was recently found rolled up in a tube with some maps and other old drawings - it shows, with a draftsman’s hand, precisely how to make such crafts as Rob Roys, Whiskey Sours and Gin Fizzes. The chart is tedious in presentation and offers sound advice and policy such as time of use… “ANYTIME.” Its accuracy was purportedly tested at least five times by folks named “Ima Sot,” “I.P. Freely,” and “Jim Beam.” That’s good enough for us here at TrailMob.
Forest History Society historian James Lewis told ABC News “You have to wonder if he wasn’t creating it for some sort of office party. Things were a little more like ‘Mad Men’ than they are today.” Mad Men or not, Cleve “Red” Kethcam obviously had quite the sense of humor; and, was not scared to have a little fun when he wasn’t fighting fire or maintaining trails.
Red passed away in 2005, TrailMob reached out to his son Ray, who obliged our request for an interview. Ray, chuckling at all the attention booze blueprint is getting, described his old man as just “a cowboy from New Mexico who liked to build stuff.” Ray went on to describe his dad as a fun loving, good humored man who “simply wanted to make the Forest Service better.”
And that he did, Red fought fires for many years. Throwing pulaskis in the back of the truck and racing off! In fact, Red battled the New Mexico wildfire back in 1950 that captured the world’s attention. Not because of its flames, but rather because of a 5 pound bear that was rescued. That bear would later be named Smokey.
Ray says those guys were just “family [to each other] and would mess with each other all the time.” 41 years after its creation, the USFS “Cocktail Construction” is on display at the U.S. National Archives in Washington, D.C. If you can’t go see up close that’s okay, we’ve got it right here… And remember…
“NO MATTER WHAT YOU MIX, TAKE CARE – THE DRINK YOU MIX MAY BE YOUR OWN!”