📖Sightseeing: 🍸priscilla’s gold

📖: Rattawut Lapcharoensap’s Sightseeing (2012)
🍸: priscilla’s gold

Why this book?

As part of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage month, I wanted to read more works by underrepresented AAPI authors, particularly by writers of Southeast Asian heritage. So I asked a fellow Asian American friend – who’s a writer – for some recommendations, and Rattawut Lapcharoensap’s Sightseeing was one of them. Lapcharoensap’s book was published when he was 25 (talk about life goals)!

This collection of seven short stories is such a gem, with its vibrant observations of young people in Thailand, where Lapcharoensap spent his childhood. While straightforward and easy to read, it is full of feeling — wistfulness, regret, curiosity, and hope — from a perspective that is not often represented in mainstream publishing. It is the first work I’ve read from a Thai-American writer, and I would not have found this one on my own without my friend’s help — thank you, V!

Why this drink?

This drink was inspired by one of my favorite stories in the collection, “Priscilla the Cambodian,” which is about an unlikely friendship that forms between two local Thai boys and a girl who arrives in their town as a Cambodian refugee. One of the most memorable things about Priscilla is her gold-plated teeth, which represent one of the few valuable assets that her family was able to take with them after they fled from their home country. As a nod to Priscilla’s gold, I’m pairing a daiquiri-inspired cocktail made with the yellow juice of passion fruit, which is used in Thailand for refreshing drinks.

priscilla’s gold

2 oz gold rum
2 oz passion fruit juice
0.75 oz lime juice
0.5 oz ginger and lemongrass infused demerara syrup

for garnish:
lemon peel twist

  1. combine all ingredients in a shaker and shake with ice.
  2. serve in a chilled glass.
  3. garnish with a lemon twist.

This recipe was inspired by Difford’s Guide’s passion fruit daiquiri.

*how to make ginger and lemongrass infused demerara syrup: Pour demerara sugar and water into a pan (using a 1:1 sugar-to-water ratio) and heat the mixture on the stove until it starts to bubble. Once tiny bubbles start to appear, immediately take the boiling syrup off the stove and pour it into the into a glass jar with slices of fresh ginger and lemongrass. Cover the jar with airtight lid until cool.

*how to make a lemon twist garnish: Use a paring knife to peel off a strip of lemon rind. Remove most of the white pith from the zest to reduce the bitter taste. Trim the edges of your strip to make it look like a ribbon. I made my peel a little less than 1 inch wide. Twist into a spiral and add to your drink.

quarantine substitutes:
–I didn’t have any fresh passion fruit lying around, but I managed to find a carton of passion fruit juice at a local deli shop (who knew the convenience store around the corner would have more of a niche item selection than our local Whole Foods these days!). I’ve seen Ceres, Welch’s, and Goya passion fruit juice sold in some local grocery stores as well.
–Still can’t find any passion fruit juice around? Go ahead and make a plain ol’ daiquiri with lime, rum, and simple syrup. Or you can try swapping out the passion fruit juice for something more common like orange juice.
–No demerara sugar? Simply replace with regular white, granulated sugar.
–No fresh ginger? You can try using ground ginger instead.
–No lemongrass and no ginger? No problem! Just omit these ingredients and make a simple syrup.

Another round, please! 🥂

You might also like:
Lysley Tenorio’s Monstress (2012)

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