By Noah Kaufman
Updated April 02, 2015
© National Archives at Atlanta

Never let it be said that the United States government cannot produce compelling documents. Like this one with detailed descriptions of 21 cocktails. We are not sure how exactly this particular document was unearthed (h/t to Kottke for bringing it to our attention), but we’re glad it was. "Cocktail Construction," from the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service Region 8, dates back to 1974 and is currently housed—for real—in the National Archives of the United States. It has proper diagrams of everything from a whiskey sour to a gin fizz and contains specific instructions on when to shake, when to stir and in what order ingredients should go into a drink. According to the chart’s creators, when making a cocktail with fruit juice, you should always add liquor last. Who those creators are remains a bit of a mystery, though. The chart contains the signature of a regional engineer named Ketchum, but the drinks were supposedly checked by, among others, Ima Sot, Jim Beam and I.P. Freely. Check the lower right corner. It’s nice to see the Forest Service has a sense of humor. You can click on the chart below to zoom in and see the whole thing or find it over at the National Archives (thank goodness they document everything!) here.