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La Chureya Estate Wedding

11 Apr

Sharply dressed guests before ceremony

Last Saturday Shaken Not Stirred provided bartending service for the first time at the beautiful and historic La Chureya Estate close to downtown Palm Springs. Palm Springs is becoming one of the hottest places for destination weddings. For this particular wedding most of the guests traveled thousands of miles from Australia to be there.

Champagne station at entrance

I have worked at many fabulous venues throughout Southern California, and I must say La Chureya Estate is one of the most beautiful. The buildings are classic Spanish architecture and the grounds are immaculately groomed and landscaped. The bar area is next to the olympic sized pool, and that is where we pored drinks all night.

Pool area with bar on the other side

The wedding ceremony took place out on the lawn, which is was a perfect backdrop for great photography. We set up a champagne and water stand for the guests as they were arriving. We finished serving all of the arrivals and then moved back to the bar, when the ceremony ended quickly and we were hit with a big line. We served spicy jalapeno margaritas, Moscow Mules, and a variety of other drinks.

Bride takes a walk with father

La Chureya Estate Venue

  • Beautiful historic buildings and landscaping
  • Private location
  • Close to downtown Palm Springs
  • Ample space for vendors
  • Views of the mountains from grounds

Most of the guests at this wedding traveled all of the way from Australia and it was fun serving them. They were all dressed to the nines and I’m sure the photographer (also from Australia got some great pictures. There were 75 guests in attendance, and they kept my other bartender and I pretty busy. We completely served out of tequila and most of the vodka.

I will return to Palm Springs tomorrow to do a 200 guest corporate event. The Coachella Music Festival is going on this weekend and next and we have a few events going connected to that. I also have a “Leaving California,” party to do Saturday night in Corona on Saturday night. You may no how I feel about that – “You can check out, but you can never leave…” Please follow us on Instagram.

Two Weddings and a Brazilian Themed Birthday Party

17 Oct
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San Clemente State Beach

 

Last week Shaken Not Stirred provided bar catering for two big weddings and a Brazilian themed birthday party. Thursday I traveled to San Clemente to bartend a wedding at the Historic Cottage located at the San Clemente State Park. On Friday I bartended a birthday party with a Brazilian theme in the Venice Beach area, and then on Saturday drove to Palm Springs to provide bartending service at the Palm Springs air museum. It was a very successful week for Shaken Not Stirred.

The Historic Cottage

The Historic Cottage at the San Clemente State Park overlooks the ocean and is a fantastic venue for a wedding. This venue reminded me very much of The Pointe Vicente Interperative Center in Rancho Palos Verdes. The Historic Cottage only allows wine and beer service, and drink service stops at 10pm.

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Guests mingle during cocktail hour

For this wedding, the ceremony was held on the bluff overlooking the ocean, and then the guests came for the cocktail hour held in the front yard of the Historic Cottage. I had my portable bar setup there and a had a barback from Orange County helping me there. We served approximately 150 guests. After the cocktail hour, the guests moved to the backyard area of the cottage for dinner and dancing.

Brazilian Themed Birthday Party

A chef that I know, Ella Freyinger, referred me to bartend for one of her friend’s birthday party. The client and her husband were very British, but they wanted to do a Brazilian themed birthday party. I would be serving Caipirinhas, the Brazilian cocktails and they would be serving food popular in Brazil. Caipirinhas are made with Brazilian cane liquor, Cachaca, brown sugar, and lime. They are somewhat labor intensive drinks that require much muddling, so I kept busy making them for four hours for 30 guests.

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Cachaca and Brazilian soda

 

At first, I didn’t think the guests liked them, because they were drinking them slowly, but that changed quickly. Guests brought more bottles of different brands of Cachaca, and I was making drinks with at least four different brands, including Pitu, Cachaca 51, Novo Fogo, and Avua. The owner of the Avua brand was actually at the party, and provided a lot of insight about the various types. I must mention that Caipirinhas are deadly drinks that go down smooth, but can bite like a rattlesnake.

Palm Springs Air Museum

I have done weddings and parties at venues all over the Coachella Valley, but this was my first wedding at the Palm Springs Air Museum. It is a truly fantastic museum located in a hangar at the Palm Springs airport. It is full of vintage planes and displays, which I didn’t really have time to look out because I had to hustle and prepare for a 230 guest wedding party. I had another bartender and barback there to help me. Unlike many wedding parties I do the ceremony for this one was done somewhere else, so the guests trickled in, rather than arriving in a line all at once. It can be daunting to serve a line a 230 people.

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Myself, barback Teresa, and bartender Thomas

We served margaritas, and mojitos, and various other drinks. The highlight is when they opened the hangar door and we could see a dramatic sunset over the mountains of Palm Springs, as well as vintage planes outside the hangar and commercial jets taking off nearby. It was a great event and hope to return there soon.

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Shots!

 

Shaken Not Stirred Provides Bar Catering for Two September Weddings

14 Sep
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Picturesque, but hot!

 

Last weekend Shaken Not Stirred provided bar catering service for two fantastic weddings. Weddings like these take months of planning, and many different vendors are involved, including the wedding coordinator, the caterer, the bartending service, the DJ, insurance companies, the photographer, the florist, and the venue. I am happy to be part of that process, and spend much time writing emails back and forth, and on the phone with grooms, brides, and wedding planners. It is also always nice to see a wedding executed as planned.

When I arrived in Indio at the Desert Ridge Estate, I got out of my car and was surprised how blazing hot it was. I had done a wedding in Joshua Tree the weekend before and it was a pleasant 90F. I had not checked the weather report, and it was a sweltering 116F in Indio. The bar was set up outside in the direct sunlight. The DJ was rolling with sweat as he set up his equipment. I wondered how I was going to make it with several hours of sunlight left.

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The sun finally goes down

The guests and wedding party were just as shocked by the high temperatures. Almost all of the guests were from Canada and not used to such extreme hot weather. Well, we got through it somehow, and I have never been so happy to see the sun go down. I served one signature drink, a prohibition era cocktail called Bee’s Knees, and it is made with gin, lemon juice, and honey. The drink was a hit and I served completely out of it.

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Shots!

Bar Catering Tips

  • Hire a licensed bar caterer
  • Let the bar caterer make you a shopping list
  • Choose specialty drinks that can be served quickly
  • Hire more than one bartender for weddings over 100
  • Always make sure to buy plenty of ice

The next morning, I got up and prepared to drive from Indio to Palmdale for the second wedding of the weekend. The heat from the day before had taken a lot of out of me and I was dragging. I drove up the 15 and took the back road to Palmdale across the high desert. It is a scenic drive, and I was feeling much better by the time I arrived in Palmdale.

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Man and wife take their first walk together

The wedding was held at Hacienda Reyes, a very nice venue in the hills above Palmdale. I set up my portable bar in a small gazebo on the property. The weather was much nicer than the day before – a chilly 92F. I made simple drinks and served beer to approximately 75 guests. I think everyone was happy.

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Shots!

This weekend I will be returning to the Desert to the Cree Estate to do another wedding, then I have a Mimosa and Bloody Mary bar in the morning at Rancho Palos Verdes, and then that afternoon I am doing bar catering for a wedding reception in Irvine. Please follow us on Instagram.

Diamond Bar Center Wedding, 2018

14 Aug
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Notice Groomsmen in the Background

Saturday Night, Shaken Not Stirred traveled to the Diamond Bar Center to provide bartending service for the fifth time at the venue. Diamond Bar Center is maintained by the City of Diamond Bar and is an excellent venue with scenic views and smart landscaping. I am always happy to go back there and like working with the system they have there for vendors.

The bride and I had done much planning for this wedding, as we went back and forth on the drink menu and shopping list in the months prior to the wedding. It is always nice that after much planning, everything comes together and is over with in a few hours, just as planned. For this particular wedding, the lighting and color coordination in the ballroom looked especially nice. I credit the wedding planner, DreamsComeTrueWedding.

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Storybook Wedding at Diamond Bar Center

For this wedding we had a two bar setup, with one bar outside the dining room for the cocktail hour, and then we moved inside to another bar for the main reception. The Diamond Bar Center has two very nice portable bars, and the staff and security there helped us move everything. Within 15 minutes we were able to break down the first bar and move it into the second dining room bar.

Diamond Bar Center Venue

  • Dining Room can accommodate over 300 people
  • Bar service is limited from 6pm until 10pm
  • Scenic views of San Gabriel Valley
  • Large outdoor patio area
  • Two portable bars available

We made several different easy cocktails for the guests, including Jameson and Ginger, Cactus Coolers, and Cosmos. Many of the guests were not drinking alcohol, and we had plenty of options for them, including Mango juice, orange juice and sodas. Part of bartending wedding is making Shirley Temples for the kids, and we made plenty of those at this wedding. Another successful wedding for Shaken Not Stirred at the Diamond Bar Center.

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Large Dining Room at Diamond Bar Center

The next three weekends in a row I will be going to the Palm Springs area to bartend a couple of birthday parties, and a wedding. I also have a baby shower and a corporate event to do in Los Angeles, and a going away party in Lake Forest. There was a slight chill in the air this morning, which signals fall is coming. My favorite time a year for doing events. Please follow us on Instagram.

Reptacular Ranch Wedding and 50th Birthday Cocktail Party

19 Jun
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Tequila shots at cocktail party

Shaken Not Stirred provided bar service for two big events last week – a 50th birthday cocktail party, and a wedding at the Reptacular Ranch.  On Friday I went to the Carthay Circle neighborhood of Los Angeles, which is south of Hollywood and bartended for a two hour cocktail party to celebrate the host’s 50th birthday. Then, on Saturday, I drove up into the mountains above Sylmar to the Reptacular Ranch to bartend a wedding (my second time at the venue).

I always like doing intimate cocktail parties and the hosts and guests usually like having me. The hosts like having a bartender because they can enjoy themselves and not have to make the drinks. The guests like it because they can get a variety of professionally made drinks. For this party I set up my portable bar in the kitchen and served drinks to five couple before they departed for a nice dinner in West Hollywood.

 

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Salud!

I served Moscow Mules, Margaritas, and Lemon Drops made with fresh lemons from my backyard lemon tree. Unfortunately, I think I used the last of the good lemons from the tree, and most that are left are over ripe. I created a new Elderberry Lemon drop using a dash of St. Germain, agave nectar, and fresh lemon juice, with a sugar rim. The guests had a couple of cocktails and left for dinner. Everyone was happy.

Reptacular Ranch Weddings

  • Petting zoo with exotic animals
  • Rustic secluded location
  • Bar with refrigerators
  • “Honey Wagon” style restrooms
  • Beautiful area for ceremony

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    Reptacular Ranch Ceremony

Saturday was my second time working at the Reptacular Ranch. The first time was back in August and it was literally 110 degrees up there. All the ice melted within 2 hours, and I had to drive down to Sylmar and pick up more. They have since made improvements and have refrigerators and a ice cooler near their newly renovated bar area. They also have a very nice new area with seating for ceremonies. For this wedding, the groom works for an ice company, and the weather was unseasonably cool, so we did not have to worry about ice.

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Bar area at Reptacular Ranch

This coming week I have a cocktail party in Los Angeles on Friday night, a Summer Solstice party in Studio City on Saturday night, and then a birthday party in Beverly Hills, and a graduation party in Seal Beach on Sunday. That’s is the kind of week I like. Please follow us on Instagram.  

 

Three Day Wedding Event at the Galvan Estate

4 Apr
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Father walks bride to her wedding at the Galvan Estate

Last weekend I provided bartending services for three days at the Galvan Estate in Palm Springs. I arrived on Thursday night to bartend the rehearsal dinner, showed up again Friday for the wedding, and then wound up the weekend bartending the pool party on Saturday. It was my third time doing an event at the beautiful Galvan estate.

The hosts of the wedding were from Winnipeg, Canada, and most of the guests had either flown in or driven from there. They say it a 33 hour drive from Palm Springs to Winnipeg. Westjet offers direct flights to Palm Springs from various destinations in Canada. As I am learning, Palm Springs is a favorite destination for Canadians. One of the guests at this event flew all the way from Thailand.

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Guests mingle in bar area

The rehearsal dinner was a breeze and I served a lot of red and white wine, beer, and simple mixed drinks. The next day for the wedding, I brought in an extra helper. We made two signature drinks for the arriving wedding guests. So I made 40 drinks in about fifteen minutes before the ceremony. Later we prepared just as many glasses of champagne for the toast. Everything was smooth sailing from then on.

Galvan Estate Wedding

  • Heated pool
  • Large wet bar outside
  • Another bar inside
  • Large area for ceremony
  • Big outside dining area
  • Gas barbecue grill

For the pool party we had a keg, and I served blended margaritas. It was a very nice crowd to serve for three days, and everybody seemed to have a good time. I had another wedding going on in Lake View Terrace that night, and I send another bartender to do that one. Once the pool party was over I drove back to LA and stopped by that wedding to help out a bit.

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Groom and groomsmen share cigars

This weekend I am returning to Palm Springs to bartend an all day pool party. I have events coming up later this month in Westwood, Brentwood, and Stevenson Ranch. Please follow Shaken Not Stirred on Instagram.

Maxwell House Wedding

12 Mar
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Historic Maxwell House in Pasadena

Last month I provided bartending service at a Maxwell House wedding in Pasadena. I am delayed in writing this blog post, but thought that I should because it is such a nice venue. The Maxwell House is a historic building in an old neighborhood in Pasadena, and you couldn’t find a more picturesque setting for a wedding. I hope to return to the Maxwell House many more times in the future.

The groom who hired me was the brother of another client we provided bartending services for. It is always nice to get repeat business.  My son actually bartended the first wedding party, so this was my first time meeting the brothers and the family. I spoke to the groom many times by email and phone planning the bar menu and shopping list.

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Bride and Groom enter reception

I served a variety of drinks including a cucumber gin and tonic, the classic, Fleur di Paradis cocktail, and a rum hot toddy. Surprisingly, the Maxwell House does not have a fixed bar in place, so I set up my portable bar and table in the library of the historic home.

Maxwell House Wedding Pluses

  • Close to the 210 and 134 freeways
  • Picturesque and private setting
  • Large kitchen and dining room
  • Beautiful main room for ceremony
  • Nice courtyard

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    Bride and bridesmaids

I usually like to give props to the caterers, but I misplaced the caterers card and can’t recall their name, but they did a fantastic job. The Maxwell House has a great kitchen and two large dining room areas. They also have a great courtyard, which I’m sure gets utilized more in the summer.

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Maxwell House dining room

I have been remiss in updating this blog, but I have done many events recently including weddings, birthday parties, and rehearsal dinners.  It is the season for many events in the Palm Springs area, and I am doing several weddings out there in the coming weeks. Late this week I am doing a large corporate event in Culver City, a cocktail party in Huntington Beach, and a cocktail party in Palm Desert. Please follow us on Instagram.

 

Fontana White Wedding

29 Nov
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DJ dancing with kids

Saturday, Shaken Not Stirred provided bartending service for a White Wedding in Fontana. I did much planning with the bride over the past few weeks about the drink menu and the shopping list. This is all a part of my service, and weddings go much smoother when the hosts take advantage of this. Saturday’s wedding went well because it was well planned, and well executed.

The wedding in Fontana was the first “white wedding” I have participated in and the bride requested that I wear all white also. All the guests were dressed in white and the decor was mostly white. This creates a very nice atmosphere, and the bride’s mother said that it represented purity. The bride and groom were of Nigerian heritage, so the customs that apply to that culture were in place.

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Guests dressed in white

I served Margaritas and simple mixed drinks to approximately 60 guests. The DJ played a lot of African music and it was a nice departure from the usual played out tunes that are played at almost every wedding. I swear, I do not want to ever hear “YMCA” played again, but I’m sure I will probably hear it again at the next wedding I do.

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Bride and groom at white wedding

White Wedding Characteristics

  • Bride and groom dress in white
  • Groomsmen and bridesmaids dress in white
  • Guests and vendors are suggested to dress in white
  • Flowers, linens, and decor in white

I do many events in the Inland Empire and this is the fourth time I have been out there in two months. I like going out to the IE and the people are always super friendly. November is almost over and the busiest month of the year for a bartending service is December. So far I have 22 events scheduled for the month of December, and I’m sure I will pick up a few more. I saved the month for my repeat clients, and most of the jobs I have scheduled are for repeat clients and referrals, which make me feel very good.  New Year’s Eve is still available. Please follow us on Instagram, if you haven’t already.

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Guests pose for a picture

Newport Beach Post Wedding Reception

25 Oct
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View from Newport Beach Clubhouse

Last Saturday Shaken Not Stirred traveled to Newport Beach to bartend a post wedding reception at a condo association club house. The couple was married earlier in Hawaii and most of their family and friends couldn’t be there, so they held a reception in Newport Beach for that reason.

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8 year old bar flies

Many of these condo communities and apartment complexes have club houses where the residents can hold parties. This particular club house was very nice and it overlooked Newport Beach with an ocean view. It had a kitchen and a built in bar. The reception was Hawaiian themed and I served Pina Coladas and Mai Tais. They catered in Hawaiian food.  

Like any wedding reception, family member and friends made speeches. One of the groom’s sons made a memorable speech when he said something to the effect that “his dad seems much happier since he met his new wife.” I talked to the groom and he said he had been single for 15 years since his last divorce, and never thought he would be married again. I guess there is hope for me too. I think everyone had fun at the reception and I served a bunch of shots.

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Shots!

Corporate Events

I have done a bunch of corporate events recently. I did a grand opening at a warehouse in Santa Fe Springs where they demonstrated new new products. I served beer and they hired a caterer to grill steaks. I talked quite a bit to the caterer and hope to work with him again. He has lived and worked all over the world and is a master at many different cuisines. I hope to work with him again. He is Christopher at First Place Cuisine.

Tomorrow I will be doing two corporate events at retail stores on Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood, and then again on Friday. On Saturday I will be bartending an all night Halloween party in San Bernardino. Next week I have events scheduled in mid city Los Angeles, Westlake Village, and Coachella. Follow us on Instagram.

July is Wedding Season for Shaken Not Stirred

10 Jul
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Wedding ceremony on backyard deck

Shaken Not Stirred started the July Wedding season with two memorable weddings last weekend. On Friday I traveled to San Diego and did a fantastic backyard wedding at a private home in the University Heights neighborhood. On Saturday I returned to Los Angeles and bartended a wedding at the Reptacular Ranch in the hills above Sylmar. It was a very hot weekend temperature wise, so I had my challenges.

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Groom and groomsmen waiting to proceed..

I don’t do many events in San Diego, but I do a few a year when they are worthwhile, and the University Heights wedding was one of those. The house where the wedding was held sits on quiet street that overlooks Mission Valley and the 8 freeway. They had the backyard decorated very nicely and chairs set up on a deck for the ceremony. I setup my portable bar in a corner of the yard and the hosts were kind enough to provide me with an umbrella. It was pretty hot for San Diego, but there was an ocean breeze.

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Kicks Band perform at wedding

After the ceremony ended, the guests and wedding participants filed up to the bar and I served a variety of mixed drinks – the most popular being the Long Island Ice Tea. Long Island Ice Teas are a labor intensive drink when you are making them one at a time, so I always make big batches of them when people are drinking them. Old Town Catering provided the food and they did a very good job. Kicks Band provided live music, and they were very good. The hosts asked me to stay two extra hours and I was happy to do so.

Wedding Season in Southern California

  • April Until October
  • Hire a bartender
  • Book early
  • Consider a backyard wedding
  • Make it memorable

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    Wedding party at Reptacular Ranch

I had a quick turnaround time and to hustle back to LA to do the wedding at Reptacular Ranch. The ranch is in the hills above Sylmar and is quite isolated from everything. You have to drive a good ten minutes off any main road up a winding canyon road to reach the ranch. The temperature was well over 100 and I brought 200 lbs of ice to last the night – it only lasted an hour and a half. I had another bartender, Matt, with me, so I drove back down the hill and got another 140 lbs of ice, which ended up being just enough to finish the night out.

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Bouquet toss

There were 125 guests at the wedding, so Matt and I stayed pretty busy slinging drinks until 11 pm. I didn’t have a chance to get the caterer’s info, but the food was pretty good, and DJ did a great job. This week I am in Montana visiting family, but have another wedding scheduled in Eagle rock when I return, and a corporate event in Burbank. Follow Shaken Not Stirred on Instagram.

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Shots!