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Rolling Hills Estates High School Graduation Party

13 Jun

Scenic Rolling Hills Estates

Last Saturday I drove to the South Bay to bartend a high school graduation party in scenic Rolling Hills Estates. Of course, high school graduates are not yet of drinking age, but I served the graduates soft drinks, and mixed harder stuff for their parents and older siblings. The party took place at a very nice property, with a well stocked home bar.

I made Old Fashioneds, Dry Martinis, Margaritas, and Mojitos for approximately sixty guests. This was a much different party than the one I attended when I graduated high school. Ours was in a garage and we had a keg of beer and we all got really drunk. That was a different time and place over thirty years ago. These high school graduates are going off the universities like Tulane, and USC next year.

The host makes his own wine from grapes he grows himself on his property. I forget the name of the grape he uses, but I had never heard of it before. I decanted a couple of bottles and the guests loved it. He even has his own stylish labels on the bottles. He also makes Grappa, and limoncello.


Home made wine from Rolling Hills

Graduation Party Ideas

  • Hire a bartender
  • Choose a theme
  • Serve great food
  • Invite the parents
  • Play great music

The party went on until midnight and they had a dance floor setup in the living room. It was a very nice graduation party, and I’m sure the graduates will always have fond memories of it. I met some good people who took my card and I hope they will call me for future jobs. I have a long history in the South Bay and I always enjoying back there.


Home bar at Rolling Hills

Tomorrow I am doing a junior high graduation party in Encino. I will make virgin drinks for approximately 40 kids. I have done a few non alcoholic events. This coming Saturday I will drive out the Palmdale to bartend a wedding rehearsal party. I have other events later this month in Los Angeles and in Oxnard. Follow Shaken Not Stirred on Instagram if you haven’t done so already.

Burbank Graduation Party

9 May

Guests socializing at Burbank graduation party

Saturday night Shaken Not Stirred provided bartending service for a graduation party in Burbank. The guest of honor certainly deserved a graduation party because she graduated at the very top of her class and completed nursing school at a four year university. I know from friends of mine that have attended nursing school that it is a grueling program, and not everyone makes it, let alone graduates at the top of their class. I salute her, and am sure she will have a very promising career.

This year the demand for graduation parties has increased dramatically. I have had so many calls for graduation party bartenders that I have had to turn down many of them. Next weekend I have two bartenders going out to bartend two different graduation parties, while I will be bartending a wedding in Perris. Next month there are several graduation parties as well.


Family and friends at graduation party

Graduation Party Ideas

  • Hire a bartender
  • Hire a caterer
  • Rent tables and chairs for backyard
  • Hire a DJ

The Burbank graduation party took place in the backyard of an uncle. The grandparents had emigrated from Cuba just after the revolution. I always like talking to Cuban immigrants because they know the devastation that Communism causes. I know this is not a political blog, but I am extremely anti-socialist/communist. I got that from my ex wife who was from Chile. She told me what happened when a socialist, Salvador Allende was elected as president of her country and was a puppet of the communists in Cuba and the Soviet Union. In two years, the economy was destroyed, all in the name of “redistribution”. Now, people in this country think socialism is the way to go here. How ignorant of them. I will probably lose business over this, but I don’t care. It burns me up anytime I see someone wearing a Che Guevara shirt. They have no idea who he really was – a mass murderer.


Pisses me off when I see people glorifying this culito!

Anyway, back to the party. I served margaritas and vodka drinks. We served completely out of beer and they had to go get more tequila. The guests came to party. I set up my portable bar in the back yard, the taco man from Paulina’s Catering set up right next to me. I always enjoy watching the catering people do their job. He was very efficient and made it look easy serving 60 people.


Preparing tacos for Burbank Graduation party

Next weekend I am headed to Perris in Riverside County to bartend a wedding, while my other bartenders are doing graduation parties in Castaic and Chino Hills. Later this month will be in Palm Springs for a bachelorette party and a cocktail party later that night. Then, I will close out the month for a wedding in downtown LA.

Chino Hills Graduation Party

14 Jun
Storm clouds disappearing in Chino Hills

Storm clouds disappearing in Chino Hills

Saturday night, Shaken Not Stirred bartending service was on hand for a graduation party in Chino Hills. It was a high school graduation party, though I didn’t serve alcohol to the high school graduates, but served to their parents and older friends and relatives. It was a very mellow party, though no doubt an important milestone in a young woman’s life, as she prepares to embark on the next adventure in her life – a college career.

I am always impressed when family members throw parties in honor of each other. I have said this 100 times on this blog, and I will say it again. Anyone who has a party thrown in their honor is a very blessed person. The father of the graduate was so proud of his daughter, and gave a very touching speech on her behalf. Nobody threw a graduation party for me, because I was a terrible student in high school, and a rebellious teen – I didn’t give my parents much to be proud of in high school. The fact that I even graduated is a miracle.

That being said, the group of high school graduated at the Chino hills graduation party were a very nice group of kids. None of them tried to get me to serve them alcohol. They seemed to have a great time sitting at their own table, and when it came time for dancing, they all got out on the dance floor. Anybody who says the youth of today are totally worthless, I will have to say there are countless examples to contrary.

Guests dancing to the "Cupid Shuffle"

Guests dancing to the “Cupid Shuffle”

I served Cadillac Margaritas, Old Fashioneds, and wine. It was not a hard drinking crowd, but I seemed to stay busy. I have a blender and don’t mind making blended drinks at all. I am pretty good at making them, because I made thousands of blended drinks when I worked at the bar at LAX. We made pina colladas, daiquiris, and margaritas blended. People are amazed when I pour the ingredients into the blender, blend it up, then pour into the glass and it pours right to the top of the glass with nothing left over. That comes with practice.

Next week I will be bartending a birthday party in Pasadena on Friday, then travel to Bakersfield on Saturday for a rather large wedding. I am doing all the shopping for the wedding, which I don’t mind doing for a small service charge. This will be my first event in Bakersfield, and I don’t mind going up there, or anywhere if it makes sense financially. At this point, I am still available for the Fourth of July, though I have been emailing back and forth with one person.

Backyard party setup

Backyard party setup

Castaic Graduation Party

24 May
Mariachis making a grand entrance

Mariachis making a grand entrance

Last night Shaken Not Stirred was the bartending service on hand at a graduation party in Castaic. This was the second graduation party I have done this month, and I have realized that a graduation is something very worthy of a celebration. The graduates have worked hard and sacrificed for however many years, and are certainly deserving of a celebration of the highest order. In this case, the graduate the party was in honor of, graduated from USC in the accounting program.

I just realized something tonight as I was sitting in restaurant waiting for my meal.  I saw a couple and I thought I recognized them. Maybe I even bartended their wedding. They were deep in conversation and I didn’t want to interrupt them. I felt a little sad, because I thought of all the weddings, birthday parties, graduations, and engagement parties I have done. All of the people start to blend together. I want to remember all of them, but it is hard.

I have said this before – the greatest thing about bartending private events is that I get to be present as people experience major milestones in their lives. People get married, have 40th birthday parties, have anniversary parties, house warming parties, retirement parties, and I am there pouring drinks through all of it.

Everyone dances

Everyone dances

Last night the Castaic graduation party was a perfect example of how cool it is. The graduate’s father got up and gave speech about how special it was for him to have a daughter, and how proud he was of her to follow him into his chosen profession. It was such a heartfelt speech, and couldn’t be duplicated in a movie. I have heard speech after speech like this.

Today, I am in a hotel room in Banning looking out the window at the mountains in the distance. The sun is shining now, but wasn’t all day and it was unseasonably cold for Southern California. I was supposed to bartend a pool party today in Palm Springs, but it was canceled due to bad weather.  That is the first time this has happened. Maybe I should ask for a bigger deposit. I am not freaking out about it, because I know it is not the norm.

Next weekend I travel to Orange County to bartend a birthday party. I have several birthday parties, weddings, and graduation parties booked next month. Shaken Not Stirred is doing well bartending events all over Southern California.



Fullerton Graduation Party

17 May
Taco service

Taco service

Last night, I was the bartender at a Fullerton graduation party. The host had just graduated and received her doctorate degree, and that required three years of intense study and basically not having any kind of a life, outside her studies. So this graduation party was a great cause for celebration. There were at least 50 friends and family member in attendance, and everyone seemed to have a good time.

I served Cadillac Margaritas, and Cucumber Margaritas, and I also improvised an orange margarita with fresh squeezed orange juice. The cucumber margaritas I make with my own cucumber syrup, and they were quite popular. I didn’t feel this last batch was my best however, and I think I need to adjust the recipe to get more cucumber flavor. One thing for sure, I don’t believe in infused liqueurs at all, and believe the flavor is better when mixes are made from fresh ingredients.

Graduation party in Fullerton

Graduation party in Fullerton

The host hired a taco cart and a mother and daughter team from Tacos Reina (909) 251-1609, provided the catering. I talked to Reyna, the owner and she was a very nice person. I love to see that people are making businesses for themselves. Many of these people rely on word of mouth alone to get their business and don’t know how to use the internet to their advantage. That is why I always put a plug in for people when they do a good job and provide a good service.  Reyna’s salsa and beans were out of this world!

The host also hired mariachis, and Mariachi Estrella de Chapala (562) 619-4891, provided the traditional Mexican entertainment. I always enjoy talking with the mariachis, and I always request my favorite mariachi song,  La Cucurrucucu, and they played it for me and to me. Such a beautiful classic song.

Mariachi Estrella de Chapala

Mariachi Estrella de Chapala

I am working today, preparing for a cocktail party on Tuesday in Hancock Park for one of the television networks. I am arranging for the table rentals, glassware, and doing the shopping. All of this requires a lot of coordination, but as I often say, “It ain’t brain surgery.”  We are buying alcohol and serving drinks, nothing for me is much easier than that. Preparation is the key for a successful event bartender.

I have another graduation party next weekend in Castaic. The graduation party in Fullerton was a referral from a party I did almost three years ago, and those clients were in attendance. I love getting referrals and repeat business. Memorial Day is coming up and I am still available on that date. Will bartend anywhere in Southern California.

Newport Beach Graduation Party

16 Jun

Sunday Shaken Not Stirred was present at a back yard graduation party in Newport Beach. It was a very nice home for entertaining and I set up my portable bar and table next to the pool. I was a little nervous I was going to fall in and I have done that before at a party, so it is a real concern. As it turns out, I didn’t fall into the pool, but some others did, but I will tell about that later.

I brought my martini glasses and we decided upon a menu of Dirty Martini’s, Gimlets, and Lemon Drops, with Cadillac Margaritas as the mixed drink. I served Heinekens and Coronas, and Chardonnay. A friend of the family did the cooking, and he fixed beef brisket, pork, baked beans and macaroni salad. I must say that the baked beans he served were some of the best I’ve ever eaten in my life.

The weather was perfect – not too hot, but just warm enough. It was a very mellow party and many people were not drinking alcohol because they had to work the next day and had to drive. I was scheduled to bartend until 10 pm and about 8pm I was thinking the party would not last until 10. They weren’t playing any music and many people were leaving. I have noticed at other parties, if the music is not on, or playing too low, the party gets sleepy and people start leaving.

Well, around 8pm a core group was still there and they cranked the music up. I had served many drinks but did not think anyone was drunk or over the limit. I was serving home made lemoncello, made by the host. It is made from 190 proof grain alcohol and lemons. It is thick like syrup and mixes well with club soda. Some of the guests had shots of that. Just a nice after dinner drink fitting for a graduation party in Newport Beach.

With the music playing the party caught a second wind. Someone pushed someone into the pool and then suddenly several more were in the pool – some with all their clothes on and others in various stages of undress. All of the dominoes started to tumble…Those people who were not yet in the pool were put on notice that they would be next, including me! I wouldn’t have minded, but was wearing an expensive silk shirt. Anyway, the situation kind of reminded me of the stadium scene in “Apocalypse Now”. The host had me quickly wrap up the bar at that point. I honestly did not see that coming at all. The moral of this story is watch out for the lemoncello! Next weekend I’m doing a party in Lancaster, and a wedding at the Marine Corps base at Camp Pendlelton.

Cadillac Margarita and Dirty Vodka Martini

Cadillac Margarita and Dirty Vodka Martini

Me shaking martini in silk shirt just inches from water

Me shaking martini in silk shirt just inches from water

Notorious home made lemoncello

Notorious home made lemoncello

Recent graduate goes for a swim...

Recent graduate goes for a swim…