Houlihan's Mini Martinis Take Flight

Many of the beloved restaurants that introduced the concept of casual dining in the '70s and '80s have not kept pace with the times, relying on nostalgia and brand recognition to keep their bottom lines alive. One chain that has tried to remain current is Houlihan's, introducing such fashionable items onto their menu as frites, flatbread pizzas and tapas-like small plates. This focus on newness has spilled over into the bar, where you can order Skinny Drinks (under 125 calories) and Mini-Martini flights. The latter are delivered three at a time on a pretty-as-a-picture plate for less than $10. The Guavatini features Absolut Vodka, fresh-squeezed lemonade and a shot of guava for a springlike, almost herbal taste, while the Mini Cosmo is merely a smaller version of the classic cocktail. Only the Blue Moon Punch Mini was disappointing, with a taste rather like Smith Brothers circa 1959. Nevertheless, chocolate, sour apple, and key lime versions are also offered, so that you can mix and match and then toast to the fact that, as Carly Simon once suggested, that these are the good old days.

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Chris Meesey