- 500 Center Blvd, Newark, DE, 19702
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- Sun: 11 a.m. - 10 p.m. Mon-Sat: 11 a.m. - 11 p.m. Fri & Sat: Lounge open till 1 a.m.
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If there's one thing that most of us here can agree on, it's that we're all much bigger fans of the original versions of things, rather than copies. We prefer original music to that of covers, and local mom-and-pop restaurants to that of chains.
So when one of my esteemed colleagues approached me last week, enthusiastically recommending a drink menu at a local chain restaurant to be featured here in Cocktail Corner, I was a bit skeptical, to say the least.
Then I hopped online and took a look at that drink list at Houlihan's over by the Christiana Mall, and realized that not only were there some creatively original concoctions on there, but another feature I'd never seen before.
They call it their Mini-Martini Flight, where you get to sample three ounces of three different martinis on their menu, to see which one you'd like best. Of course, this is technically a copy of the original wine flight you'd find elsewhere, but intriguing enough that we just had stop by for a sampling.
If you're looking for a little bit of an escape from the everyday, then hop a flight at Houlihan's with their Mini-Martini Flight. For $7 you get three ounces of three 'tinis, and if you're calculating that in your head, you've realized you're getting a nine-ounce martini for $7. (Not bad.)
The six recipes from which you may choose to build your flight are also available in larger sizes, and all begin with a variation of Absolut vodka as the base. From there, it's a mix of liqueurs, fruit juices, decorated rims and assorted garnishes that make each drink its own.
Our particular threesome included the Absolut Cosmo Mini (with Absolut Citron, triple sec, fresh lime and Ocean Spray cranberry juice), the Blue Moon Tini (with Absolut Vanilia, DeKuyper Island Blue Pucker and Sprite), and the Adam & Eve Apple (made with Absolut, DeKuyper Apple Pucker and lemonade).
Two things set apart the third drink from the rest. First, the addition of a cinnamon and sugar rim gave off a crunchy sweetness that dissolved into the drink. Second, the fresh-squeezed lemonade tasted really fresh. Had it been store-bought, the drink probably would have been too syrupy sweet.
After the six-recipe mini martini list, there's also an additional set of eight more martinis. Here's a quick look at those variations, with the ingredients in case you want to make them at home.
Blueberry Martini ($6.25) * Stoli Blueberi vodka, Blue Curacao and pomegranate and cranberry juices.
X-Rated Flirtini ($6.25) * Champagne and X-rated Fusion Liqueur (a premium French vodka made with blood orange juice; more on this in a future Cocktail Corner), with mango and Brazilian passion fruit.
Zen Green Tea Martini ($6.25) * Zen Green Tea liqueur, Skyy vodka and Ocean Spray white cranberry juice.
Pomtini ($6.25) * Grey Goose vodka with pomegranate and cranberry juices.
Chocolate Martini ($6) * Absolut Vanilia, Godiva chocolate liqueur and Starbucks coffee liqueur.
Espresso Martini ($6) * Skyy Vanilla, Starbucks Liqueur and fresh coffee.
Luxe Dirty Martini ($6.25) * Top shelf tini with either Grey Goose vodka or Bombay Sapphire gin, and your choice of blue cheese, jalapeno or pimento-stuffed olives.