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First Three Holiday Parties in December

6 Dec
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Vine Street in December

I have 25 holiday parties scheduled so far for December, and still have some open dates available. The Christmas decorations are up and Santa even made an appearance at a December 1, company party. So, far, so good for the first three and only 22 more to go and I’m sure I will pick up more. New Year’s eve is still available and I’m holding off trying to book that, and am waiting to see if one of my repeat customers wants to do a party that night.

Woodland Hills Company Party

An engineering firm in Warner Center had their company Christmas party on December first at their company office. They had an island in the center of the office that worked perfectly as a makeshift bar. I provided glassware rentals. I can get any kind of glassware rentals my clients want. One thing that I have found, is that the guests attending parties don’t really care and are perfectly fine drinking out of plastic cups. It is nice to have real wine glasses on occasion and especially real martini glasses.

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Santa sitting on my lap

I made cucumber mint Moscow mules, and cranberry Old Fashioneds for the guests at this party. They hired a taco caterer to come and make tacos, but one thing they didn’t think about is that you can’t make tacos for 40 people inside an enclosed office space. The smoke will set the sprinklers off. They quickly came to a solution and the taco man setup on the roof of the building and brought the finished product down to serve.

Simi Valley Christmas Party

The second of December found me in Simi Valley at the home of a repeat client. They really go all out for Christmas and put up extensive decorations. They have a very nice bar inside their home and it is a pleasure to work from. I served martinis and other holiday themed cocktails to approximately 80 guests. They had a DJ and the hosts and guests danced up a storm. They brought in food from Simi Valley restaurant, Viva La Pasta.

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Christmas decorations on Simi Valley home

The host told me they may have another party before the month if over. I still have the 22cnd of the 23rd available. I am booked on Christmas Eve. December is always my busiest month and it usually slows down considerably in January. All the bartending companies will be competing for morsels until the wedding season starts again in March.

Hollywood Holiday Party

Last night I traveled to Hollywood for the third annual company holiday party of a television production company. This company has a hit television series going on its fourth season, so they have much to celebrate. They usually have over two hundred guests so that keeps two bartenders very busy for four hours.

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Hollywood company party

Pink Taquiza catered the tacos. My son helped me and we served a Pomegranate Moscow Mule. I premixed a big batch to save time serving and that worked out well. The signature cocktail was a hit and we served out of it by the end of the night. Tomorrow I have a corporate holiday event in Culver City. Friday night I am sending multiple bartenders out to locations in Hermosa Beach, and Silverlake, while I bartend a party in San Clemente. One Saturday I return to the San Fernando Valley to bartend a holiday party, and then on Sunday I go to Manhattan Beach to bartend a party for the Christmas fireworks show. Please follow us on Instagram.

 

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Valencia Corporate Holiday Party

12 Dec
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Bartender Matt at Valencia Corporate Holiday Party

Saturday Night Shaken Not Stirred was the bar caterer for a corporate holiday party in Valencia at the Bridgeport Clubhouse.  This was an event I booked months ago and did much planning with the host. I also took an upfront deposit for all of the supplies and did all the shopping – this is another service I offer for a fee.

We served 150 guests and I brought another bartender with me. We used the drink dispenser to serve premixed margaritas, and spicy jalapeno margaritas. This makes the service faster when you have large crowds. We also helped serve wine at the dining tables. This was a semi formal affair with a sit down dinner. Hasmik’s Party Service provided the catering and they served some excellent appetizers and their beef medallions were fantastic.

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Guests share a toast

I was very worried about this event, because I had to transport everything, including the ice. I just thought of all the things that could go wrong. Once again, we pulled it off because we arrived early and were prepared. In the end, the hosts were very happy and commented that they would hire us again next year to bartend their corporate holiday party.

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Dining room at Bridgeport Clubhouse

Corporate Holiday Party Ideas

  • Hire a bartending service
  • Create a theme
  • Hire a DJ
  • Have a photo booth

Capture It Now provided the photo booth, and that is always fun for the guests and gives them a memento of the event. It was my third successful event of the week and we are now halfway through the holiday season, heading toward the culmination at New Year’s Eve.

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Hollywood Holiday Party

12 Dec
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Bartender Mia at Hollywood Holiday Party

Wednesday night I returned to Hollywood to provide bartending service for a holiday party of a very successful production company. I did the bar catering last year and was very happy to return. I brought another bartender with me and we served approximately 250 thirsty people. I set up two portable bars side by side and we went to town slinging drinks.

The hosts requested a specialty drink that required rosemary simple syrup. I volunteered to make the simple syrup, because I like the challenge of doing that. I can infuse almost any herb, fruit, or vegetable into simple syrup, and have done cucumber, peppercorn, ginger, and now rosemary. The drink they created was called the 1936 Cocktail and it consisted of Tito’s vodka, grapefruit juice, rosemary simple syrup, and dash of club soda. The drink was a big hit.

Papa Christo’s of Los Angeles provided the catering and they put out some excellent Greek food for the hungry partiers. We also served four different beers, red and white wines and various mixed drinks. I had helped the host with a shopping list and we went through most of it by the end.

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Crowd at Hollywood Holiday Party

Holiday Party Ideas

  • Hire a bartending service
  • Choose a theme
  • Book it plenty early
  • Keep the music playing
  • Have a raffle

This holiday season I have had to hire more bartenders to help out with the demand. Every year in December there are always parties on Friday and Saturday nights, and more during the week, especially during the first three weeks of the month. Luckily, I have been able to accommodate all of me good customers. So far, I am still available for New Year’s Eve – the last holiday party of the year. Call me today!

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Orange County Christmas Party

5 Dec
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Christmas Bar Display in Villa Park

Saturday, Shaken Not Stirred traveled to Villa Park to bartend an Orange County Christmas party – the first of the season. I have been to this house several times before and they throw great parties. The host usually chooses a theme for the party and rents some great party props. When I pulled up to the house this time, I thought I was at the wrong place, because there wasn’t a full Santa and reindeer getup in the front yard. They had the back yard decorated very nicely however.

This house has the best backyard bar and pool setup I have seen at any property I have worked at. I was surprised that on the third of December that they had actually hired a lifeguard and all of the kids went swimming. The pool was at a balmy 90 degrees and the jacuzzi was set at 100. There are not many places in the continental USA where you can have a pool party in December, but Orange County is one of them.

They had several rented patio heaters for the party and my job was to light them. I used to have nightmares about patio heaters when I worked at a restaurant in Redondo Beach, because they are almost always a pain in the ass. The trick is to follow the direction precisely. It has taken me years to learn that, and maybe I can apply that wisdom to other areas of my life. Anyway, I felt quite proud of myself that I was able to light all 8 patio heaters.

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Orange County backyard bar

Orange County Christmas Season

  • Pool parties in December
  • Cruise of Lights in Huntington Harbor
  • Disney Holiday Lights
  • Christmas Boat Parade
  • Fiesta Navidad

The hosts in Villa Park not only have a fantastic bar, but a great selection of top shelf liquor. I was able to fulfill almost every request and made Lemon Drops, Moscow and Kentucky Mules, Dark and Stormy, Cuba Libres, and Old Fashioneds, among others. This Christmas party was for some parents and their kids that belong to an organization called.

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Orange County Barflies

The party was held for the parents of an Orange County organization where fathers can take their sons and daughters on camping trips and other activities. It sounds like a wonderful organization, and I’m sorry I can’t remember the name of it right now. There are separate organizations for boys and girls. It looks like the one for girls in Orange County is called the Orange Spirit Nation. It is designed for fathers that work a lot to bond with their sons and daughters during organized camping trips and activities. They also make great friends with the other parents. I wish I would have done more of that kind of thing when my kids were younger.

Five Holiday Parties in Five Days

22 Dec
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Tending bar in La Canada

Tis’ the season, and Shaken Not Stirred was busy last week bartending at five different holiday parties in five days. The holiday party season took me all over the San Fernando Valley, and to La Canada. On Tuesday I was called to do a last minute party in Encino when another bartender canceled, then on Wednesday and Thursday I bartended two back to back parties in La Canada, on Friday I bartended a party in Studio City, and then on Saturday I rounded out the week at a party in Porter Ranch. Needless to say, I made a lot of drinks.

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Martini waiting to go out

On Monday, I received a call from an associate of mine and she said someone she knew needed a bartender on Tuesday, because theirs cancelled last minute. I was happy to get the job, and so far in two years of business I have never cancelled a gig. The party was at a nice home in the hills of Encino and it was a company office party of around 16 people. I very mellow gig and I was very glad to help them. I made some Moscow Mules, Margaritas, and poured a few glasses of wine.

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School fundraiser in La Canada

Holiday Parties

  • Office Parties
    Fundraisers
    Christmas Parties
    Holiday cocktails
    Client appreciation parties

On Wednesday and Thursday I traveled to La Canada to the fabulous home of one of my best clients. He has his annual office Christmas party, and then his wife hosts a fundraiser for her children’s school the following night. Again, I served Moscow Mules, which are very popular right now. Some of the ladies requested a Mexican Mule, also known as a “Burro”, which substitutes tequila for vodka.

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Gamblers in Porter Ranch

On Friday, I went to Studio City to bartend a holiday party for a friend of mine. He had around sixty guests and I made Cranberry Old Fashioneds, and Moscow Mules. Red wine is also very popular as the weather turns colder, and I served several bottles of that. Many in the crowd were professional comedians, so it was a very fun group.

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Partiers in Studio City

On Saturday, I returned to Porter Ranch, to bartend for the third client in the same housing development. He had a real elaborate Christmas party planned, and he had a party planner, a caterer, servers, and casino tables. I poured martinis, Moscow Mules, and many scotch drinks. We used real glassware, which is always nice.

My next event so far is a New Year’s Eve party in Sherman Oaks, so not too far away. My daughter will be working that one with me, and I’ll be making some prohibition era cocktails, like The Last Word, Fleur di Paradis, Whiskey Sour, and Mint Juleps. It should be fun. I still have Christmas Eve open, and Saturday the 26th, if you need a bartender on those dates.

Two Christmas Parties in Two Counties

14 Dec
Reindeer arrive for Christmas early in Sierra Madre

Reindeer arrive for Christmas early in Sierra Madre

Shaken Not Stirred bartended two different Christmas parties in two different Southern California counties last weekend. On Saturday, I traveled to the foothills of Sierra Madre to bartend a Christmas party, and then on Sunday, I traveled to Orange county to do a holiday party in Villa Park. The busy holiday season is in full swing in Southern California, and it will be over before you know it.

I had never been to Sierra Madre before last Saturday, and I must say I was very impressed. It sits right up against the San Gabriel Mountains, and I remember seeing many bear sighting on the news over the years in that area. I did see two young bucks in somebody’s front yard on my way to the party, and that is the first time I believe I have ever seen deer in Los Angeles – though I have seen just about every other kind of wildlife. Anyway, there are many nice homes up there and it has a small town feel.

Christmas Parties in Southern California

  • Outdoor grilling
    Swimming
    Patio heaters
    Shorts and sandals (sometimes)
    Lots of Christmas lights

The hosts of the party are in the horse racing industry somehow, and most of the guests were related to that industry. It is interesting to meet all kinds of people from different cross sections and industries around Southern California. The host and I planned a drink menu and unfortunately most of the guests were drinking either vodka drinks and red wine. Before the night was over, I was sweating because we were about to run out of those two things and I felt responsible . Luckily, the host had some backups. It is hard to plan parties because different crowds drink different things. I guess it is always better to have more than not enough.

Guests mingle in Sierra Madre

Guests mingle in Sierra Madre

On Sunday I returned to Villa Park in Orange County, to bartend for a repeat client. They have a very nice backyard bar and pool that is perfect for entertaining. The party was for Dad’s, sons, and daughters, and I believe it was a fundraiser for a school event. It was a very nice Southern California evening, and the kids took full advantage of the pool. Here it is nearly Christmas, and kids are still swimming outdoors. Rain came by the end of the party, but everyone seemed to have a great time. I Heart Momo provided the photo booth, which was very popular with the kids.

Festive bar in Villa Park

Festive bar in Villa Park

I have four Christmas parties this weekend – all in Los Angeles county, and all repeat customers and referrals. It is very nice seeing some the same people again, and I knowing what to do when I get to their homes. I learn the layout of their home bars, back yards, etc, so I know exactly what to do. I always get a bit of anxiety when going to a new home because I don’t know what to expect. The trick is to arrive early. Please follow Shaken Not Stirred on Facebook for updates on upcoming availability in your area and party ideas.

Shaken Not Stirred in Villa Park

Shaken Not Stirred in Villa Park

Pina Collada waiting for drinker

Pina Collada waiting for drinker

Hollywood Holiday Party

10 Dec
Portable bar and table at holiday party

Portable bar and table at holiday party

Last night Shaken Not Stirred was the bartending company of choice for a Hollywood holiday party with over 200 guests. I was the bartender and my daughter Pia, was my barback. We served out of almost everything by the time the night was over. 200 people can drink a lot of alcohol, even on a week night!

The party was put on by a Hollywood production company for friends, employees, and associates. We set up our portable bar and table in the back yard. The weather is still warm enough in southern California to have outdoor parties. A catering company, Sky’s Gourmet Tacos provided the food, and they made some excellent tacos. The food line kept going all night, as did the drink line.

My daughter and barback, Pia

My daughter and barback, Pia

The specialty drink of the night was the Paloma. The Paloma is a classic Mexican favorite and is made different ways. Some people just use Squirt, lime and tequila, others use Fresca and tequila. Last night we made the Paloma with tequila, sparkling grapefruit juice, and fresh lime, with a sugar rim and grapefruit wedge garnish. It was a big hit and we served completely out of it.

I taught my daughter how to make that drink and she made some other simple ones, like gin and tonics, rum and Coke, or Vodka and cranberry. I have taught many people to bartend over the years, and some of them are still making a living at it. I say time and time again, it ain’t brain surgery! It does require some grace under pressure however, that some people just can’t bare.

The Paloma cocktail

The Paloma cocktail

On Saturday I will travel to the city of San Gabriel to bartend another holiday party, and then on Sunday I will do another one for a repeat client, who has a fantastic back yard bar in the city of Villa Park in Orange County. Then next week, I have four back to back Christmas parties, all around the San Fernando Valley. This is going to be a great month for Shaken Not Stirred, but I am a bit worried about next month, as it could slow down after the busy holiday season. I have two events booked so far in January, so I will be anxious to fill that calendar up – knowing that it will invariably be slower. I will take that time to refocus my marketing efforts.

Holiday party guests mingle in Hollywood

Holiday party guests mingle in Hollywood