The US government has a document with the exact rules on how to mix classic cocktails -- here are the 13 best recipes

Creative cocktails have become the hallmark of bartenders around the world. After all, there’s no “right” way to mix up a drink, right?

Apparently, there is — and the U.S. government seems to have signed off on it.

Craig Stoltz, a cocktail enthusiast and former Washington Post editor, posted a curious engineering diagram on

The diagram, created by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service in 1974, spells out exactly how to create some of the most common cocktails around.

A closer look at who signed off on the document — which is preserved in the National Archives — reveals that it is more of a prank than actual law, with signatures like “I. Mixum” and “I. P. Freely.” However, that doesn’t mean that the chart doesn’t contain some useful advice.

Here are 13 of the cocktail construction recipes on the chart that any amateur mixologist should have under their belt, from the martini to the Zombie.


Shake with cracked ice, then remove:

  • 1 1/2 oz rum
  • 3/4 oz squeezed lemon or lime juice
  • One teaspoon granulated sugar


Stir with cracked ice, then remove:

  • 1 1/2 oz bourbon
  • 3/4 oz Italian vermouth
  • One dash angostura bitters
  • One red cherry

Tom Collins

U.S. Forest Service and Will Shenton/Wikimedia

For a 12 oz. beverage, mix:

  • 1 1/2 oz gin
  • 3/4 oz lemon juice
  • 9 3/4 oz soda
  • One teaspoon granulated sugar
  • One red cherry
  • Three cubes of ice
  • One orange slice on rim

To make the John Collins, swap the gin for bourbon.

Whiskey Sour

Shake with cracked ice, then remove:

  • 1 1/2 oz bourbon
  • 3/4 lemon juice
  • One red cherry
  • One teaspoon granulated sugar
  • One orange on rim


To make a 6 oz beverage, stir:

  • 1 1/2 oz vodka
  • 7 1/2 oz orange juice
  • Two ice cubes


Wikimedia and U.S. Forest Service

Stir with cracked ice, then remove:

  • 1 1/2 oz gin
  • 3/4 oz French (dry) vermouth
  • One green olive with red center

To make a Gibson, swap the olive for a white pickled onion.

Rum and Cola

To make a 12 oz beverage, stir:

  • 1 1/2 oz rum
  • 10 1/2 oz cola
  • 16 squeezed lime slices, or two full squeezed limes
  • Three ice cubes

Mint Julep


  • 2 oz bourbon
  • Water
  • Four crushed sprigs of mint
  • One teaspoon granulated sugar
  • Four to six crushed ice cubes


Magnetic Rag via Wikipedia

To make a 14 oz drink, shake with cracked ice and remove:

  • 1 oz Jamaica rum
  • 2 1/2 oz rum
  • 1/2 oz apricot-flavored brandy
  • Four squeezed lemons
  • 1 oz unsweetened pineapple juice
  • 1 oz passion fruit juice
  • One floater (about 1/2 oz) of Demerara rum
  • Orange juice
  • One red cherry
  • One mint leaf

Make sure to add a straw.

High Ball



  • 1 1/2 oz bourbon
  • Two ice cubes
  • One lemon peal
  • Drinker's choice for mixer


Shake with cracked ice, then remove:

  • 3/4 oz fresh cream
  • 3/4 oz creme de cacao
  • 3/4 oz creme de menthe

Gin Fizz

For a 6 oz drink, stir:

  • 2 oz gin
  • 1/2 of a squeezed lemon
  • Soda

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