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Porter Ranch Engagement Party and Los Angeles Sip and See

29 Jun
Guests arriving to Porter Ranch engagement party

Guests arriving to Porter Ranch engagement party

This past weekend Shaken Not Stirred provided bartending services at two events – the first being an engagement party in Porter Ranch, and then a daytime party in Los Angeles, as new parents celebrated the birth of their daughter.  Summer is here and so is the heat, the backyard parties, pool parties, large wedding and barbecues. Each type of party has its own kinds of challenges.

The engagement party at Porter Ranch was a backyard event that had two bars, and I provided two bartenders to serve 100 guests.  The future bride was of Persian heritage, and engagement parties are a big part of the Persian wedding tradition. I have done several Persian themed engagement parties and they have all been quite large and elaborate affairs.  For this event, I took my long time associate Mia to help me. She is always dependable and always a pro.

We set up two bars from scratch and that is all part of the preparation. The engagement party is structured similar to a wedding, and there is a program where certain things have to happen at certain times. The future bride’s brother acted as the MC of the event and he did an excellent job.  We served lots of Jack Daniels, Bacardi, and Kettle one.  The party went until midnight and the people were still dancing and having a great time as we broke the bars down.

Shots!

Shots!

I had a quick turnaround, because I didn’t get home until after one am, then had to be in mid-city Los Angeles to bartend the “sip and see” Sunday morning. The Cathay neighborhood of Los Angeles near Olympic and Fairfax is where I lived when I first came to LA, over twenty years ago. The nice thing about that neighborhood is that they get a nice ocean breeze, and it is typically 20 degrees cooler than the San Fernando Valley in the summer. The “Sip and See,” was a party organized by the parents so friends and family could see their one month old daughter. They did not have a baby shower, and instead chose to do it this way.

I set up my portable bar on the patio and we served Bloody Marys, Mimosas,  and Ginger Peach Bellinis. We always served  Bellinis for Sunday bruch when I worked at the former Frascati Ristorante in Redondo Beach, so I was quite familiar with them. I made the Bellini mix with ginger syrup and peach puree. All you need to do is pour in champagne.  It was a fun event and many of the guests sat out by the bar socializing. Simple Things of Los Angeles provided the food and I highly recommend it. They had the most amazing breakfast sandwiches and unique finger foods.

Urban garden in Los Angeles

Urban garden in Los Angeles

The Fourth of July is coming up next Saturday and I will be traveling to Orange County to bartend in the community of Villa Park. I am still available for Friday and Sunday parties, if anyone in the Los Angeles or Orange County is interested.

Shots!

Shots!

Santa Clarita Engagement Party

11 May
Live band at the party

Live band at the party

Saturday Night, Shaken Not Stirred was the bartending service on hand at a Santa Clarita engagement party. I have bartended several engagement parties since I started Shaken Not Stirred, but have yet to bartend a wedding of one of the engaged couples. I hope to get to do that with this particular couple, because I had great experience working for them.

They hired a live band for the engagement party and they were very good. I had the card from the band, but now can’t find it. I will get the name and insert a link here as soon as I get it. Live bands really add a lot to any party.

Shots!

Shots!

The future groom likes Old Fashioneds, as did many of his friends. I don’t think I have never made so many Old Fashioneds in one night.  I remember when I first started bartending at a restaurant, somebody would order an Old Fashioned every once in awhile, and I would have to refer to the bartender’s guide to remember how to make them. Now, everybody is drinking Old Fashioneds again because of the show, “Mad Men,” likewise Manhattans, Rob Roys, Tom Collins, are trending again.

At the Santa Clarita engagement party I set up my portable bar in the gazebo of the host’s backyard.  We used Bulleit Rye whiskey for the Old Fashioneds and went through a whole handle of that. I also made Cucumber margaritas, that came in second for the most popular drink. Stone IPA was the most popular beer of the night.

I want to do Hurricanes, Bahama Mamas, and Pisco Sours at some future party. I have a feeling, some tropical party is on the horizon with a Jimmy Buffet theme. I see they are making Margaritaville tequila now, so Jimmy Buffet is getting richer from his trademark. Not bad, for a guy who used to sing for dollar bills on the streets of New Orleans. Good for him. Sammy Hagar is also a tequila mogul.

Future bride and friends

Future bride and friends

I have some fancy cocktail parties coming up in Beverly Hills and Hancock Park later this month, and then a birthday party in Orange County.  I also have a graduation party to bartend in Castaic on the 23rd. I am still available for this weekend, so I wonder where in Southern California Shaken Not Stirred will end up?

San Diego Engagement Party

30 Nov
Pretty girls in traditional dresses

Pretty girls in traditional dresses

Shaken Not Stirred provided bartending services at an Engagement party in San Diego last night. I book some parties in San Diego, if I feel they are worth traveling that far, and this one definitely was.  This was my first Vietnamese American party and the hosts and guests couldn’t have been nicer. Operating a bartending service in Southern California, I do events for all kinds of ethnic groups, and it is always interesting. I have bartended at Armenian parties, Mexican parties, Russian parties, African American, Italian, and Salvadoran parties.  The language barrier doesn’t seem to be much of a problem.

This particular event was an engagement party and it seemed to be done in a traditional way. The women were dressed in their traditional dresses, and the men wore suits. This is a very important part of Vietnamese culture where the two families come together for the first time. The party was held at the family of the future bride, and the family of the future groom all arrived at once. They brought a number of gifts and roasted pig.

I served Long Island Ice teas, Remy Martin cognac, and Heinekens. There were over 100 guests and that will keep one bartender busy. When I serve a drink like the Long Island Ice Tea, I usually make a big batch of it. If you don’t know already the Long Island is a potent drink and contains vodka, gin, tequila, rum, and triple sec, topped of with a bit of sweet and sour and Coke. The funny thing is that it tastes a little bit like iced tea. It will sneak up on you.

Traditional Vietnamese engagement party

Traditional Vietnamese engagement party

Some party crashers showed up and I thought they were neighbors and served them. The hosts did not want them there and told them to leave. They flat out refused to leave and I thought it was going to be an issue. This can get a little dicey in Southern California, since I hear about shootings at neighborhood parties all the time when party crashers are turned away.

The Christmas party season starts in full swing next weekend. I am bartending two parties. I will stay close to home on Friday night and am bartending a birthday party in Studio city. On Saturday I will travel to Yorba Linda in Orange County to serve drinks at the first Christmas party of the season. I some others booked, but still have many dates left available in December. Call me and let’s talk about it.

Shots!

Shots!

Palmdale Engagement Party Bartender

19 Oct

Last night I was the party bartender at a Palmdale backyard engagement party. I have worked many backyard engagement parties, weddings, Christenings, and birthday parties that were very nice. The party rental companies come out and set up a tent and all of the tables. For last night’s party I used my portable bar and set up in one corner of the yard next to the photo booth. The DJ sets up in another area, and the caterer in another. I forgot to bring my camera and had to take pictures with my phone that didn’t come out so good, but you get the idea what it looks like.

As a party bartender, I tend to always be loaded for bear – meaning that I prepare for the busiest possible circumstances. The engagement party last night had 125 guests in attendance, and I was bartending by myself, so I had to make sure I had everything I needed at my disposal. Unlike many other parties I have bartended recently, the guests at this event were drinkers and I served out of all of the alcohol and most of the beer by the time I finished at eleven.

To give you an idea, that was three 1.75 bottles of vodka, five 750ml bottles of Ciroc vodka, eight cases of beer, and seven bottles of wine. So, I by myself served hundred of drinks. I had a steady flow of customers coming to the bar for five hours straight. I am not complaining, I like it that way. I enjoy bartending, and going to new places every weekend, and meeting a whole new group of people. One of my customers said it – “Everybody loves a party bartender.” It’s true, I have had mostly positive experiences on every job I have done.

This was the third event I have bartended in the Palmdale/Lancaster, Antelope

Mariachis at Palmdale engagement party

Mariachis at Palmdale engagement party

Portable bar set up

Portable bar set up

Backyard engagement party

Backyard engagement party

Mongols on the loose!

Mongols on the loose!

Valley area. I don’t mid driving out there, but the road at night can be a little dicey. For some reason, and this doesn’t happen often in California, but people like to drive the speed limit in the fast lane on Highway 14. It creates a dangerous situation as cars driving faster try to get around the slow moving cars. Last night I passed on the right hand side four members of the Mongol’s Motorcycle “club” driving in the fast lane. That was a little unnerving.

I had many calls to do Halloween parties next weekend, but I had to turn them down, because I am bartending a wedding in the Inland Empire. I am still available on Friday, October 31 for a Halloween party and will probably get one. Next month I have several birthday parties booked and a corporate event. I was thinking that November might be the lull before the Holiday season. The fact is that Los Angeles and Southern California is home to millions of people, and thousands of them are going to be hiring bartenders on any given month.

Hollywood Engagement Party and Stevenson Ranch Cocktail Party

6 Apr

April 5th was a busy day for Shaken Not Stirred. We had an engagement party in Hollywood, which was the second in a two part series, as we did the first one in Chatsworth awhile back. Two twins are going to be married and I was a glad to be a part of both of their engagement parties, and hopefully will be present at their weddings. Both of the girls, their finances, and their parents couldn’t be nicer people.

I brought two servers and a barback with me to the engagement party. The servers were there to just make sure plates and cups and bottles were kept cleaned up. They had a pizza truck come with a portable woodfired oven and make pizzas. I didn’t get the company’s name, but will try to get it and ad it later.  There were about 85 people at the party and it went on until 2:00 am. I served pink grapefruit martinis, cosmos, and margaritas. Coronas and St. Archer were the beers of choice.

Meanwhile, at Stevenson Ranch, I had another bartender, Jessica on the scene to do a cocktail party. I double booked that date but everything turned out great. I don’t know a lot of the details, but I guess there were a lot of kids at the party, and Jessica made a selection of virgin drinks for them. She is a very dependable and competent bartender. Dependability is 90 percent in this business. I have never cancelled or been late to an event, and in fact it is my policy to arrive ½ hour early to set up at no extra charge.

Next weekend I am doing a birthday party in El Monte, then another birthday party on Thursday in Woodland hills. I have a big wedding in Valencia later this month and am taking extra staff with me on that one. I have some dates booked in May and am doing a wedding in Fillmore, where I have never gone before. I have other dates booked in June, and as far out as September, but so far July is wide open and I hope to start filling that month up. I would like to do some reunions and pool parties and a Forth of July party

Back yard engagement party bar

Back yard engagement party bar

My crew in Hollywood

My crew in Hollywood

Hollywood engagement party heating up

Hollywood engagement party heating up

. It’s going to be a hot summer! You can now follow me on Twitter.

Chatsworth Engagement Party

22 Sep

Shaken Not Stirred manned another successful back yard event last night – an engagement party in Chatsworth. Over 100 people attended the party and it seemed a great time was had by all. Although I wasn’t contracted to bring a barback, I brought my son, Willie, to train him. As it turned out I really needed him and he was a big help. I usually recommend having a barback or second bartender for parties over 100 people.

As you see in the pictures, the “bar” was made up of six foot folding tables covered by table cloths and that worked just great. People often ask me if I have a bar for rent, or if they should rent a bar. Bar rentals cost as much as $300 a night, and it really isn’t necessary. In fact, I prefer working with the table set up, because there is more room and the table is usually just the right height. The moral of this story is, unless you think a real bar will make your party look that much better, it really isn’t necessary – a folding table with table cloth works just fine. If you have a home bar already, great!

A friend of the engaged couple donated the beer and it was a big hit. The beer we served was St. Archer Blonde Ale and is brewed at St. Archer Brewery in San Diego. We went through at least four cases over the course of the night. As the weather gets cooler, wine becomes more popular. We served several bottles of various red wines, and several bottles of white, as well as a few bottles of champagne. This was a younger crowd, so they drank quite a bit.

Traditional Persian cuisine was served including lula, chicken, and beef kebobs, saffron rice, and other traditional dishes. I was so busy that I didn’t get a card from the caterer, which I usually try to do. They had a DJ and a dance floor also and the party went on until after midnight.

Party before the action

Party before the action

Willie in training mode

Willie in training mode

Party raging...

Party raging…

Table bar setup

Table bar setup

Holiday season is fast approaching and I have booked one Halloween party so far. I still have a few weddings booked in October and early November and then I imagine the focus will shift to Christmas and New Year’s Eve. parties. It is best to book early. Shaken Not Stirred serves all of Los Angeles County, and we also go to Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Ventura Counties. In fact, we’ll go anywhere for the right price.  

Mobile Bartenders for 2013 Private Events

14 Jan

Shaken Not Stirred provides mobile bartenders and servers for private events throughout the entire Southern California area. The busy holiday season is now over, but the party season in Los Angeles is just beginning. Awards season is big in Los Angeles and we provide bartenders and servers for parties and events until the broadcast of the Academy Awards and beyond. We also bartend at birthday parties, weddings, engagement parties, openings, screenings, fund raisers, mixers, and all kinds of corporate events.

If you are planning any kind of party with 25 or more guests, don’t even try to bartend yourself. Shaken Not Stirred can provide a private, certified bartender for your event in the Los Angeles area for as little as $100 for 4 hours. For areas more than 50 miles from the San Fernando Valley the minimum is $150 for fives hours. Bartenders arrive one half hour early to set up and bring a professional bar kit that includes shakers, cutting board, pourers, wine openers, etc. For no extra charge we can also include a 64 quart cooler for ice or beer.

If you are planning a large event with 100 or more guests, we can provide more than one bartender and/or servers. Call for rates if you are planning a large event or have special requests. We can get rentals such as a portable bar and glassware if needed. Large parties are great business, but we like to do small parties of 40 people and under as well. We have serviced many birthday parties in the 25 to 50img77 person range.ImageImageImage

To book a party we require a 25 percent non-refundable deposit, which you can pay via credit card on our PayPal link. We have male and female mobile bartenders available – all are prompt, very experienced, and professional. We have done parties as far south as San Diego, as far east of Los Angeles as Indian Wells, and in Ventura to the North. Call us today and let us help you plan a drink menu and shopping list. Call today – (310) 280-6103.