📖Half of a Yellow Sun: 🍸olanna

📖: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun (2006)
🍸: olanna

Why this book?

Half of a Yellow Sun is an epic story of two twin sisters, their partners, and a house servant in Nigeria. The book spans a decade — from Nigeria’s independence in 1960 to the Nigerian-Biafra War of 1967-1970 — and follows the lives of these five individuals as they experience times of peace, prosperity, hope, revolution, devastation, and displacement. The book gives sharp insight and nuanced perspectives of a civil conflict that the rest of the world has viewed as a war of starvation.

Adichie puts great effort into exploring the impact of violence and revolution on civilian lives, rather than focusing on just the fighting. Because the conflict so significantly impacted civilians, the story of the war cannot be fully told without recognizing the story of the people who lived through it. While the book primarily highlights five main characters, the scope of the novel remains broad, due to Adichie’s details and discussions around Nigerian history, politics, class, and colonialism.

Why this drink?

Yellow appears as a significant color: one of the protagonists’ names, Olanna, means ‘father’s gold’ in Igbo, and the title of the novel references the emblem of a yellow rising sun on the Biafran flag. With that in mind, I decided to make a spin-off of a Nigerian Chapman with freshly squeezed orange juice and yellow-colored spirits to give this drink its gold color (instead of the traditional red color). 


2 oz spiced gold rum
0.5 oz elderflower liqueur 
1 tsp Suze 
3 oz orange juice
0.5 oz lemon juice 
juice of 1 lime wedge
2 oz seltzer water 

for garnish:
orange wheels, sliced in half

  1. combine all ingredients (except for seltzer water) and shake with ice
  2. pour into a chilled glass with halved orange wheels
  3. top off with seltzer water
  4. serve with ice (optional)

quarantine substitutions:
Suze is not always available at local liquor stores. Omit this ingredient – if you want to replace it, you can use any other gentian-based bitter liqueur, or simply add some bitters to the drink. (Chapmans traditionally call for bitters anyway).

If you do not have elderflower liqueur, replace it with a simple syrup (boil a 1 part sugar 1 part water mixture on the stove just until bubbles appear, and let cool). You may also use the syrup from canned lychees. Or use ripe freshly squeezed oranges that are already naturally sweet, so no need for an extra sweetener.

Another round, please! 🥂

You might also like:
Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Lowland (2013)

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