S1:E3 | 11.15.2018


Wait... the mai tai was invented in Oakland?! We follow the popular cocktail on a historical journey through the rise and fall of tiki culture in America.

About This Episode

In the third episode of Proof, we dive into the history of one of our favorite escapist beverages: the mai tai, which was created in, of all places, Oakland. Follow along as we track the popular cocktail’s historical journey through the rise and fall of tiki culture in America. Read our episode recap here.

Trader Vic’s Original 1944 Mai Tai

“1944 mai tai. You have Jamaican rum. And at that time it was a 17 year old rum. J Ray Nephew from Jamaica. Orange curacao, not blue curacao, orange curacao, which is a bitter orange. Orgeat, which is almond, and fresh squeezed lime. The thing with the lime, it is so important because we drop the spent lime shell in the top of the drink because you still have the oils from the lime shell. And then mint, when you slap the mint it kind of adds to the whole kit and caboodle.” --Eve Bergeron


  • 1 oz lime juice
  • ½ oz orange Curaçao
  • ¼ oz orgeat syrup
  • ¼ oz 1:1 simple syrup
  • 1 oz aged Jamaican rum
  • 1 oz aged Martinique agricole rhum
  • Mint


Shake all ingredients over ice, pour into a double old-fashioned glass. Fill to rim with crushed ice. Garnish with a spent lime shell (peel side up) and a sprig of mint (slapped).



  • 2 cups raw almonds, sliced or chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon orange flower water
  • 1 ounce vodka


  1. Toast almonds at 400°F for 4 minutes, shaking after 2 minutes.
  2. Cool almonds and then pulverize them with a blender or food processor.
  3. In a saucepan, cook the sugar and water on medium heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture starts to boil, about 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. Add pulverized almonds and simmer on low heat, stirring frequently. When mixture is about to boil, remove from heat and cover. Let it sit for a minimum of 3 hours and no more than 12 hours.
  5. Strain steeped mixture through three layers of cheesecloth into a bowl, squeezing the cloth as you go.
  6. Add orange flower water and vodka, then stir. Funnel into glass jar or bottle.

Recipe by Marcia Simmons (Serious Eats)

A Tiki Tour

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