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Glendora Super Bowl Party II

9 Feb
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Shaken Not Stirred in the house

Sunday, I returned to Glendora to bartend the second annual super bowl party (that I have been involved in).  The host asked me back again, and I was delighted, because he has a killer backyard bar that is perfect for throwing big bashes. The weather was beyond perfect and about 80 guests enjoyed the game and cocktails provided by me.

The host asked me to create some specialty drinks, so I thought of some theme drinks, based on the teams playing. For the Carolina panthers, I created Carolina Sweet Tea, which has vodka, a splash of peach schnapps, and Popeye’s Sweet Tea.  I served this at a wedding and it was a huge hit – so much so that we had to go out and get more sweet tea. The tea didn’t over so well at the super bowl party, because there did not seem to be many Carolina fans in the house. I also created the Orange Crush in honor of the Broncos, and that was simply Orange Crush and vodka.  The hit drinks of the night ended up being the second string drinks – Jalapeno margaritas, and peach margaritas.

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Crowd at Glendora Super Bowl Party

I saw many of the same people that came last year and many of them sat in the same seats.  I made a lot of blended concoctions and the bar is well stocked. We had one big screen television behind the bar, and he had another TV at a secondary bar, and a projection TV set up. They had a bounce house set up to keep the kids busy.

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Mustang in pieces!

Halfway through the game somebody called out, “Who owns a white Mustang parked across the street?” I raised my hand, thinking maybe I was parked in front of a fire hydrant or something. The guy told me I had better come out and look at it. I walked out to the street and saw my trusty steed in pieces. A guy driving by in a monster truck had side swiped it with his big tires.  I really didn’t have time to deal with the situation, and was not upset – the guy stopped and gave his insurance info. Stuff happens, and I had bartending to do – the show must go on. Fortunately, some people who lived across the street who had nothing to do with the accident zip tied my bumper back on so I could drive home. Everything worked out fine. That car has taken me to over 200 events and hopefully will be up to 200 more.

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Shots!

The super bowl party was really buzzing by the end of the game and most of the guests were elated by the outcome. I really wasn’t able to watch the game, because I was busy, which is how I like it. The host says he is not having it again next year, but I hope he changes his mind. Next weekend is Valentine’s Day and I will be bartending a wedding in the South Bay for my associate Mia Martini. Late rthis month I will be returning to Palm Springs to bartend two weddings.  I am still open on February 20th at this point, so if you need a bartender for that date, please call me.

Venice Beach Corporate Event

19 Nov
Corporate event before the madness

Corporate event before the madness

Wednesday Shaken Not Stirred provided bartenders for a large corporate event in Venice Beach. This was the first of many holiday company parties Shaken Not Stirred has contracted to do in the next month and a half. The Venice event required two bartenders and two barbacks to provide service for approximately 300 guests.  ‘

I worked extensively with the company party planner developing a drink menu and shopping list. She wanted Thanksgiving themed cocktails and chose a Cranberry Old Fashioned, an Apple Cider Moscow Mule, and an Apple Pie sparkler as a mocktail. Now, how to serve these moderately complex drinks to 300 people in three hours.

Guests mingle in Venice Beach

Guests mingle in Venice Beach

I normally don’t recommend serving drinks that require any muddling, fresh fruit, or four different ingredients to large crowds. We worked it out. Otto, a veteran Hollywood nightclub bartender was working with me and he showed me how to muddle fruit, sugar, and bitters in masses, so all we had to do was add a spoonful to each Old Fashioned and mix the drink.

Corporate Event Bartenders

  • Company holiday parties
  • Client appreciation
  • Grand Openings
  • Screenings
  • Product launches
  • Conferences

I had my barback putting ice into glasses and booze and then I mixed the drink. I saw the line circulating three or four times throughout the night. Only one bottle of whiskey was left at the end and about a case of wine. My shopping list was pretty accurate for 300 people for three hours.

Off the hook in Venice

Off the hook in Venice

On Saturday I will stay in the San Fernando Valley and bartend a birthday party in Reseda. On Monday I will bartend a cocktail party in Westwood, and then on Thursday I will spend Thanksgiving with my family. I had requests for bartending gigs on Thanksgiving, but I am sorry – I worked too many holidays when I worked in the restaurant industry. This Thanksgiving I will be with family.

Shaken Not Stirred Crew

Shaken Not Stirred Crew

 

Two San Fernando Valley Parties

27 Sep
Guests mingle poolside in Sherman Oaks

Guests mingle poolside in Sherman Oaks

This weekend Shaken Not Stirred remained at home in the San Fernando Valley and bartended two parties in Sherman Oaks and Northridge. The first party was a wedding rehearsal dinner south of the boulevard in Sherman Oaks, and the second party was a one year old’s birthday party in Northridge. I made a lot of margaritas over the weekend, to say the least.

The Sherman Oaks party was poolside at a very nice hillside home a few blocks south of Ventura Boulevard. The host had requested that I make the margarita mix with fresh ingredients. I use limes, lemons, agave nectar, and filtered water to make my own mixture, and it has always been a hit. The host asked me why I use lemons, and I suppose the real answer is because I have a lemon tree in the backyard that produces some of the juiciest lemons I have ever seen. I didn’t use those lemons for this batch because they aren’t ready yet, but they should be ready by Christmas, and are excellent for whiskey sours, Tom Collins mix, and many other cocktails.

The margaritas were a hit at the Sherman Oaks party, and many of the guests were in from Canada, enjoying the 100 degree weather we are having here in the valley. I served completely out of the margarita mix and only served a few beers and some sangria and white wine.  The heat was oppressive when I first arrived, but it cooled off a little after the sun went down.

The sun finally goes down

The sun finally goes down

On Saturday, I traveled a few miles further to Northridge to bartend a one year old’s birthday party. The hosts were of Philippine heritage and they explained to me, a one year olds birthday is a big deal in their culture.  They really did some elaborate planning and decorating for the party, and they had a large yard that was very conducive to entertaining.  Approximately 100 guests showed up, including a lot of children. Mark Cano was the photographer on hand, and he also kept very busy.

I made Moscow Mules, Cadillac Margaritas, and variations of vodka drinks. I also served a lot of Coors Light. Once again, temperatures were soaring in the valley. I kept very busy during this party and was struggling to keep up as a steady stream of people came to bar. We almost ran out of cups and ice, but somehow made it to the end of the night with few left over.

Backyard paradise in Northridge

Backyard paradise in Northridge

Next week, I have a corporate event in Newport Beach on Thursday, and then a wedding in Hollywood on Saturday. I still have Friday and Sunday open and hope to book some more events.  I will be very busy in the month of October, and have several event scheduled in the Palm Springs area. I just booked my first Christmas party yesterday, and expect many of those dates to start filling fa

Shots!

Shots!

st.

Catering setup in Northridge

Catering setup in Northridge

Three Event Weekend for Los Angeles Special Event Bartenders

7 Dec

This was a three event weekend for Shaken Not Stirred in Los Angeles special event bartenders. Friday night we had two big events in Studio City and Hollywood. I bartended a 21st birthday party at a home in Studio City and I sent two bartenders to bartend a wrap party at the rooftop of the W Hotel in Hollywood.  On Saturday night I traveled to Yorba Linda in Orange County to bartend a company Christmas party. From all accounts, the three events were a smashing success, literally and figuratively.

Studio City 21st Birthday Party

I had met with the guest of honor in advance and he had some specific cocktails he wanted to serve at his party. We came up with a list, including the Mai Tai, the Coconut Pie, and most importantly, the Flaming B-52 shot.  I had never done the flaming shots before, and I got plenty of practice at this party. I spent half the night pouring and lighting Flaming B-52 shots.

The Flaming B-52 is made with Kahlua, Bailey’s Irish Cream, Gran Marnier, and topped off with a dash of Bacardi 151. You light it up and the guest drinks it quickly through a straw. I felt kind of like the guy in the Deer Hunter who loads the gun for Russian roulette, each time I would light a shot up. The birthday boy seemed to have had a great time and turning 21 is a big deal in anyone’s book.

Friends celebrate a man's 21st birthday

Friends celebrate a man’s 21st birthday

Hollywood Wrap Party Featured Special Event Bartenders

After I had already booked the party in Studio City, one of my best clients contacted me and wanted me to bartend a wrap party in Hollywood. I sent two of my best bartenders to do that one. I was not going to ditch the first person who had contracted with me for that date to do a potentially more glamorous party. I don’t do things that way. I had total faith that the bartenders I sent to Hollywood would deliver and they did.

The wrap party had Don Julio sponsor the tequila and they had a rep on hand mixing Paloma Margaritas, made with grapefruit juice. I worked with the coordinator and we developed a list of three other margaritas to serve: The Prickly Pear Margarita, the Cucumber Margarita, and the Jalapeno Margarita.  I made the cucumber syrup, and the Jalapeno juice for two of those drinks, and word has gotten back to me that the drinks were a hit.

Yorba Linda Company Christmas Party

Saturday Night I bartended a company Christmas party in Yorba Linda, in the heart of Orange County.  I had spoken briefly with the host about a drink menu and shopping list, but we didn’t ever come up with anything definitively. I think she was super busy arranging the party, as she hired a caterer, a magician, blackjack dealers, a Santa, and me the bartender.

Santa hands out gifts to kids in Yorba Linda

Santa hands out gifts to kids in Yorba Linda

Anyway, I had very limited supplies to work with, but I made the best of it and developed my own drink with rum, triple sec, fresh lime juice, and soda, which I called the Christmas Fizzle, and it was a hit. The host requested a Bloody Mary and I had no tomato juice, or anything, so I improvised a Bloody Mary with Tapatio, olive juice, and vodka. She loved it! Now, that is a mixologist. (I hate that word).

The caterers on the event were Exciting Events out of Temecula. Their Jamaican shrimp appetizers were incredible, and so was their tri-tip with sundried mash potatoes. Their food was way above average as far as caterers go, and I highly recommend them.

Shots!

Shots!

Special Event Bartender Busy in December

The people who hired me to bartend the 21st birthday party in Studio City wanted to hire me again for a wrap party next weekend. Unfortunately, I am already booked for another party in Valley Village. I think I have found another bartender for them, though it was difficult. All the bartenders are already booked for most of the dates in December. I just booked another holiday party in Redondo Beach on Thursday, which is my old stomping grounds. Call me if you still need bartenders for your holiday parties, wrap parties, or just plain old get togethers.

Downtown Los Angeles Office Party

14 Nov
LA's tallest building

LA’s tallest building

Bartending downtown

Bartending downtown

Guests mingle in downtown Los Angeles

Guests mingle in downtown Los Angeles

View of downtown from office window

View of downtown from office window

Last night I bartended an office party in downtown Los Angeles for a top PR firm in the city. They were celebrating the opening of their new office on the tenth floor at a high rise downtown. Approximately 100 guests, including employees and clients attended the party and no expense was spared. They had an event photographer, sushi chefs, a DJ, and I brought my portable bar. Another bartender was also hired and I worked with him. We got along great and I will probably need his help again.

The office itself was very cool, and had an excellent view of the downtown area. There was a pool table in the center of the office and the employees were working on their pool shooting skills. It seems that the whole office is populated with women and there is only one male working there. He told me that he has a lot of fun working there. Everyone seemed so nice there, including the owner of the company.

We served Apothic Red wine, Sauvignon Blanc, Firestone IPA, and Stella, along with a signature drink – the Greyhound. Also known as a Salty Dog, the cocktail has vodka, grapefruit juice, and a salt rim. We went through almost three handles of vodka, so the drink was apparently popular. It was a quick three hour office party and I’m sure there will be many of these as the holiday season progresses. Tomorrow night I have a Quincinera in Cerritos scheduled.

I received an email last night with an inquiry for a December wedding. In Southern California, wedding season seems to last throughout the year, though most weddings are in the summer. I hope I get to bartend the December wedding, along with the many corporate events, office parties, and holiday parties that will take place in December. I also have birthday parties booked. I hope to do some repeat Christmas parties from last year. Some people have contacted me, but don’t have dates locked down yet.  If you want to hire Shaken Not Stirred in December, it is best to book your date now.

Oak Park Fundraiser Boutique

8 Nov

The Westlake Village Junior Women’s Club held their annual fundraiser boutique at St. Maixilmilian Kolbe Church in Oak Park. Shaken Not Stirred provided bartenders and served wine to approximately 400 guests. The church has a very nice event space where dozens of vendors set up shop for the “Gingerbread Boutique” that serves as a fundraiser for the women’s group and kicks off the holiday shopping season.

We served over seven cases of wine during the four hour period. We were serving Zinfindel, Cabernet, and Chardonay. I recommended two bartenders to the host because there were over two hundred guests. As it turned out, I think I could have handled it myself because the guests filtered in over the course of the night. There was never a line of people waiting to be served. We steadily served people during the four hour period.

Stonefire Grill of Thousand Oaks provided the catering and they had some very interesting and tasty food, including a cauliflower salad that was just excellent. I have done several of these events and hope to more of them as the holiday season progresses. I love bartending events on weekdays. I have one office party scheduled on a Wednesday in Palm Springs next month. Hopefully I can book something else in that area on Tuesday or Thursday that same week. Shaken Not Stirred provides bartenders and servers for fundraisers, office parties, corporate events, and openings, among other events.

Tonight I am traveling to Woodland Hills to bartend a birthday party. I will be serving Lemon Drops, Cucumber martinis, and classic martinis. I really like a making martinis and am pretty good at it. I really like using real martini glasses as well, which I will be doing tonight. Next weekend I am bartending a 21st birthday party at a loft in downtown Los Angeles, which should be interesting. If you are planning a holiday party and have not yet booked a bartender – don’t wait. Contact me today and put down a small deposit. I will hold the date for you.

Bartender modeling wine

Bartender modeling wine

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Los Angeles Bartending Service Goes Mobile for Three Events

13 Oct

Shaken Not Stirred, the Los Angeles bartending service went mobile this weekend and did three fantastic events in Encino, Temecula, and San Diego.  This was the second weekend in a row where I have done three events, and I am truly grateful.  I am getting calls from Google searches, which is the reason I write this blog. My Yelp page is also very helpful.

My first event was a surprise 30th birthday party in Encino. The host called me on Wednesday and asked if I was available for Friday. He called from my Yelp profile. I love getting last minute calls and if I am available I will most likely do them. I brought my martini glasses for the party and people drank dirty vodka martinis, Cosmos, and Cucumber martinis. The guest of honor was truly surprised and seemed to be elated by the party her husband arranged. I have said this before, but it is kind of cool to be present at important milestones in people’s lives.  Unfortunately, I forgot my camera and didn’t get any good

Future brides at Temecula wedding

Future brides at Temecula wedding

Crowded dance floor in Temecula

Crowded dance floor in Temecula

Shots!

Shots!

pictures.

On Saturday I had to drive out to Temecula to do a wedding that I booked months ago. When I booked the job, I didn’t realize that getting to Temecula is quite a journey. I had to transition on about five different freeways. The traffic was very heavy and I arrived right on time. Mia helped me with this one, and as always did a fantastic job. The signature cocktail was the Ciaprioska, which is like the Caipriana, but uses vodka instead of rum. The recipe requires muddling brown sugar with limes and pouring over vodka and ice, and then adding a splash of soda. They provided regular granulated sugar which is not quite the same, but we made it work. We operated two separate bars, inside and outside the house. In the end, I think the bride and groom were very happy.

On Sunday I booked a last minute gig in San Diego. I normally don’t do events in San Diego, but since it is quite close to Temecula I decided to do it. The event was held in a sukkah, which is a traditional tent constructed for the Jewish harvest festival of Sukkot. I did a presentation and gin tasting for forty men in the sukkah. It was a great experience. I researched the four gins we served, Bombay Sapphire, Old Tom, Hendricks, and Plymouth Navy Strength, and gave a brief presentation on the history of gin.  Everybody seemed to have a great time.  So, this was a weekend where mobile was the key word in mobile Los Angeles bartending service.

Next weekend I go mobile again and am doing an engagement party in Palmdale. I have a wedding to do on the 25th in the Inland Empire, and then a birthday party to do in Palm Springs on November 1. I am still available to do a Halloween party on October 31. I have had calls to do Halloween parties on October 25, but was not available.

 

Venice Post-Wedding Luau

5 Oct

Shaken Not Stirred performed bartending services for the second event of a three event weekend at a Venice, California post wedding luau.

The Newly-weds at their Venice luau

The Newly-weds at their Venice luau

Fully decorated tiki bar

Fully decorated tiki bar

Me behind the bar in Venice, California

Me behind the bar in Venice, California

Traditional Polynesian fire show

Traditional Polynesian fire show

The couple was married earlier in the year, but had family in from out of the country and decided to throw a Hawaiian themed event in their backyard for their friends and family.  They really spent a lot of time decorating and had a time and place tunnel that guests had to walk through when entering the party that takes them to “Hawaii”.

When I arrived the whole backyard was already full of people.  I panicked, thinking I was late and had the times mixed up. The host informed me I wasn’t late. I have never been late to an event yet, and don’t want to break my record. Even though I was on time, I was thrown right into the fire. Guests started lining up at the bar right away and I had to start making Pina Colladas, Mai Tais, and Blue Hawaiians right away. These are the standard drinks at all Luaus and there are different variations of them.

They had a Hawaiian trio, Lei Aloha, performing music and the food was provided by King’s Hawaiian Bakery. They had some of the best Hawaiian pork I have ever tasted. When the sun went down, the temperature cooled down nicely and I continued to make tropical drinks. The hosts had purchased some plastic coconut cups that were kind of fun. Many of the guests at the party were visiting from Holland and it was nice meeting and talking to all of them. I have a good friend in Holland, Big Pete, who is a successful musician, and I will give him a shout out here.

I have history in this particular neighborhood in Venice. I used to hang out with a girl and we would dog sit some dogs just down the street from where the party was held. We used to walk the dogs in that neighborhood and admire all of the cute houses in the area, fantasizing that we would someday own one of them. I recognized the address when I booked the party.

The highlight of the party was a performance at the end of the evening by some traditional Hawaiian dancers, Tausala Polynesia. They got the guests involved for a couple numbers, and then did a traditional fire show as their finale. Tonight, I do it again as I bartend a Christening here in the San Fernando Valley, in Porter Ranch. Two very successful events down this weekend, one to go.

Malibu Canyon Pre-Wedding Cocktail Party

4 Oct

Shaken Not Stirred provided bartending services at a pre-wedding cocktail party in Malibu Canyon on Friday night. Malibu Canyon, also known as Las Virgenes Canyon is one the most beautiful areas in the Los Angeles area, and the party was hosted at a fantastic home south of Mulholland Highway. We served Margaritas, beer and wine to approximately 100 guests. It was a very successful event.

The host didn’t want to use store bought Margarita mix and so I agreed to make home made mix. I had never made Margarita mix before, but was up to the challenge. I have recently made cucumber syrup and mint syrup, so was eager to try Margarita mix. I used limes from the store, lemons from the tree in the backyard which are very juicy, and simple syrup. I made three gallons of the stuff. When I first tried it I felt it was very sour, but after it set in the refrigerator for two days it tasted just right.

The Margarita mix was a big hit at the party. We used all three gallons of the hom made margarita mix and had to break into the store bought mix they had on hand. We also served 805 Ale, which seems to becoming popular, Pacifico, Modelo, and Stella Artois. We served completely out of Pinot Grigio, and
Chardonnay. One nice surprise at the party was that I ran into a couple whom I bartended for at their wedding a few months ago. They were happy to see me and then the host of thise party remembered me from their wedding. The private bartending scene is getting smaller in Los Angeles.

I was a having trouble to get any of my regular helpers to help me on this Friday night job. A girl had sent me her resume out of the blue from my Yelp

Home made Margarita mix

Home made Margarita mix

Guests mingling in Malibu Canyon

Guests mingling in Malibu Canyon

Desiree, my new helper and I in Malibu Canyon

Desiree, my new helper and I in Malibu Canyon

ad. I was nervous using her because I didn’t spend a lot of time interviewing her, but she showed up on time and did a great job. I will definitely use her again. She said that she sent emails out to every Los Angeles bartending company on Yelp. That goes to show you that there are jobs (albeit temporary) for people who actually want them.

Tonight I am bartending by myself at a post-wedding party in Venice, and then tomorrow am bartending a Christening party in Porter Ranch. This is busy weekend for Shaken Not Stirred and I hope one of many in the near future. Next weekend I am bartending a wedding at a winery in Temecula and it will be my first bartending job out there. So far I don’t have a Halloween party booked for October 31, and hope to get one.

Mobile Bartender Service at Cathedral City Wedding

28 Sep

Shaken Not Stirred, the Southern California mobile bartending service provided mixology at the beautiful Cree Estate in Cathedral City. This is the second wedding

Madboom Cooler

Madboom Cooler

The Cree estate pool

The Cree estate pool

Guests mingle at cocktail hour

Guests mingle at cocktail hour

Shots!

Shots!

Twilight at the Cree Estate

Twilight at the Cree Estate

I have done two weddings at the Cree Estate, and I must say if you want absolute privacy for your wedding in a fantastic setting in the Palm Springs area, consider the Cree Estate. For this event, we had two bars, one near the main house for the cocktail hour immediately preceding the wedding ceremony, and then another bar was set up on the lawn for the after dinner reception.

I had planned the bar service with the bride for several months leading up to the wedding. She wanted a cucumber/vodka based drink. She wanted to do a drink that was served in one of her favorite bars, which involved muddling a cucumber with mint leaves and serving it with vodka and pineapple juice. We decided that any drink that involves muddling is probably not the best idea for a wedding with 100 guests. We settled on a drink that was called the Madboom Cooler. I made cucumber/mint syrup to eliminate the muddling. We used one once of cumber/mint syrup, one once of pineapple juice, two ounces of vodka, and a splash of club soda. Top it off with a cucumber slice and a mint leaf garnish.

The drink seemed to be a hit as about 80 percent of the guests ordered it at the cocktail hour. I wasn’t really prepared for that. At most wedding and events, usually only about 25 percent of the guests order the specialty cocktail. I was making those drinks five at a time. It seemed that people liked them, because many came back for more. We had real glassware, which is always nice. We also served Dry Creek Chenin Blanc, and Souverain Cabernet for wine, and had Negro Modelo and Corona Light for cervesas.

Mia was my barback and she always does an incredible job and is a great bartender as well. I often bartend parties of 100 people by myself, but I recommend a barback for groups that large. For groups over 125, I definitely recommend two bartenders. I have another wedding coming up in Temecula in two weeks and she will help me with that one as well.

This coming week, the mobile bartending service will stay close to LA. I have a post wedding party in Calabasas on Friday, a birthday party in Venice on Saturday, and then a birthday party on Sunday in Porter Ranch. By request I will be making homemade margarita mix for the party on Friday. I am enjoying making mixes with fresh ingredients. I am not going to sit here and say that it is brain surgery. Making the infused simple syrups and mixes is pretty easy to do, but I think the difference in taste really makes it worth it.