The Cocktail Handbook, Hawaii Cocktails with Amie Fujiwara and Jesse Greenleaf

Jean Heckathorn
Amie Fujiwara and Jesse Greenleaf at the book launch for the new collection of drink recipes, The Cocktail Handbook. Duke’s waikiki

It was a hot afternoon on the lanai at Duke’s Waikiki. Still, the queue to get signed copies stretched for half an hour or more.

Authors Amie Fujiwara and Jesse Greenleaf wrote personal notes to almost everyone who had just purchased a copy of their new version of Watermark, The Cocktail Handbook: Cool Drinks From Hawaii’s Hottest Bartenders.

“We have to do it,” Greenleaf said, shaking off the writer’s cramp. “We know most of these people. They are our regular customers, they are our friends. “

You make a lot of friends in 15 years behind the bar. Fujiwara and Greenleaf, best friends since high school, now partners in both life and behind the bar at Duke’s, often successful contenders in drink contests, are now co-authors.

Their New Cocktails manual contains over 80 drink recipes, theirs and those of other veteran bars across the state. There are 14 Mai Tai recipes on their own, not to mention drinks you’ve never come across like Coconut Coochie-Choochie-Coo by Calypso Carla or Double-Down Don’s Drunken Diablo.

All drinks have an island touch, often including ingredients from the “bar garden” of Fujiwara and Greenleaf.

Perhaps it helped crowd spirits that Greenleaf spent 2.5 hours in advance brewing two drinks from a set of two: Hawaiian Island Iced Tea and the Delight of the After- midday.

The afternoon delight (a well-balanced passion fruit and a tangerine vodka concoction) was particularly appropriate. Said Fujiwara, “It’s a lighter version of Jesse’s drink called The Charley.” (Don’t rely on the light.)

Greenleaf proposed The Charley at a book launch for comedian Charley Memminger’s Hi waiter, There is an Unbrella in my drink!

While making Charleys for Charley, Greenleaf met Dawn Sakamoto of Watermark Publishing, who asked her, “Have you ever thought about writing a cocktail book?

“We didn’t think it would take five years,” says Fujiwara, but they have also had their son Oliver in the meantime.

If you’d like to meet the two in person, they’ll be signing books this Saturday (3/19), 12 p.m.-1 p.m., at Barnes & Noble Ala Moana and next Saturday (3/26), 1 p.m.-2 p.m., Barnes & Noble Kahala. No alcohol in bookstores, so they can’t make you drink.

If you like making your own Afternoon Delight (just as enjoyable in the evening), Fujiwara and Greenleaf will show you how in the video below.