Burbank Surprise Birthday Party

Friends and family pose for picture


On Saturday, Shaken Not Stirred provided bar catering at a Burbank surprise birthday party. This was no ordinary surprise birthday party – the birthday boy’s wife, family, and friends really made a grand production out of it. The party took place at the place of business belonging to the guest of honor, and I’m sure keeping the whole thing a surprise was no easy task.

These were show biz people and they know how to put on a big production. They had a stage, professional lighting, audio visual, and a professionally done video in honor of the birthday boy’s 60th birthday. The theme was variety show, with trivia questions, and testimonials from friends who could not attend. The guest of honor was pleasantly surprised as he stepped into production, and he quickly stepped right into it and got right into the swing of things, like a true pro.

Guest of honor mingles with guests

I had my portable bar set up in the corner and made drinks for approximately 80 people. I kept pretty busy for most of the night. I had made a shopping list for the host, and was nervous because we almost ran out of vodka and cups. I guess from now on, I need to double the amount of vodka for every shopping list, because that is what most people request.

Plan a Surprise Birthday Party

  • Hire a Bartender
  • Choose a theme
  • Produce a video
  • Have an interactive game
  • Serve great food

They had a food truck outside serving food, and I forgot to get a card from them. They served great food, as so many food trucks in Los Angeles do – you have to be very good to be competitive in this market. One of the family members was a bartender, so he took over for me while I took a quick break to eat. Overall, it was a fantastic surprise birthday party, and I’m sure the guest of honor will cherish it for years to come.

Fish in a barrel

Next weekend I had two events scheduled and both cancelled. That is the first time that has ever happened to me. That is why I must take deposits for every party. Luckily, I picked up another party for Saturday night in Stevenson Ranch from one of my repeat clients. I still have super Bowl Sunday available, and it is possible that I will pick up something this week. Please follow us on Facebook, if you haven’t done so already.

Birthday Party Bartender, Uncategorized

Irvine Surprise Birthday Party

First rainbow of the season over East LA

Saturday I drove to Irvine to providing bartending service for a surprise birthday party. It was raining pretty hard that morning and was one of the biggest rains of the season yet, so I left plenty early. I hate being late, and I think I have only been late once in over 300 events I have done, and I was 15 minutes late due to traffic. Going to Orange County from LA can be problematic, especially on the 5 freeway. On Saturday, I made it in plenty of time.

The occasion was a surprise 60th birthday party and it was held at the birthday girl’s home, unknown to her. I arrived an hour early to set up and family members were rushing around trying to get the house ready. They were nervous, because guests were trickling in slowly and they were afraid the birthday girl would arrive home before most of the guests arrived. They were able to stall her somehow, and nearly 100 guests arrived to genuinely surprise her.   

Guests gather at surprise birthday party

I had my portable bar setup in a room off the kitchen. I served Moscow Mules and Margaritas. I told the host to buy enough alcohol for 100 people, but there weren’t a lot of drinkers. Many of the guests only wanted water. I usually make shopping list assuming that there will be alot of heavy drinkers, and often there are. The good thing about extra liquor is that it doesn’t expire or go bad.

Surprise Birthday Party Ideas

  • Hire a bartender
  • Choose a theme
  • Keep the secret
  • Serve great food

I told the host that anybody who gets a surprise birthday party is truly blessed – not everybody gets one. I have never had one thrown in my honor. At this Irvine surprise birthday party, the guest of honor was totally surprised and grateful. Her niece had done much of the planning and had created a cool video to congratulate her aunt and show her appreciation. Traditional Indian food was served.

This coming weekend I will be returning to Orange County to bartend a holiday party in Villa Park. Another bartender will be going to Valley Village to bartend another holiday party on behalf of Shaken Not Stirred. December is usually my busiest month and it is shaping up that way this year too. New Year’s Eve is still available, so it will be interesting to see where I will end up this year. 

Birthday Party Bartender, Uncategorized

Bond Themed 60th Birthday Party

Traditional martini waits to go out

It was very fitting that Shaken Not Stirred was the chosen bartending service for a James Bond themed 60th birthday party in Valencia, Saturday night. The event was held at an HOA clubhouse, and these are great venues for residents to take advantage of. There were approximately 80 guests and it was grand party in the tradition of 007.

I set up my portable bar and table outside with the threat of rain in the air. I had worked with the host creating a drink menu of three martinis. The Vesper Martini is the authentic James Bond martini from the books by Ian Fleming. The Vesper is a very strong drink and consists of 2oz of gin, 2oz of vodka, and a dash of Lillet, with a lemon twist. The birthday boy loved the drink and that was what was really important. I also served dirty martinis, pomegranate martinis, and Appletinis.

Guests enjoy martinis at 60th birthday party

The line was building at the bar in the beginning. Making martinis for 80 people is a little labor intensive, but I handled it. They had real martini glasses, which are always nice to work with.  I also served red and white wine, beer and soft drinks. It did start raining as I was working, but my bar was under cover and I didn’t even realize it was raining until there was a break in the action.

60th Birthday Party Ideas

  • Theme parties
  • Casino night
  • Live music
  • Hire a bartender
  • Dancing

    Blackjack at 60th bithday party

The guest of honor wore black tie and looked the part. I guess he and I share the same birthday of March 14th. He was a very lucky man to have such a nice 60th birthday party thrown for him. They had a blackjack table and a craps table set up with dealers, and they had a live musician providing entertainment. They had serving trays with pasta and chicken piccata. The party obviously took a lot of work  to put on, but when it was over, everyone came together and packed it up in a half hour.

The guest of honor and wife

Next weekend  I have a 21st birthday party in Santa Barbara, and then a drink making demonstration just down the road in Carpenteria the next day. I don’t do that many events in Santa Barbara, but it is nice to have two back to back. I like doing the demonstrations, and I will be teaching how to make a Lemon Drop martini, a Manhattan, an Old Fashioned, and a blended drink, the Georgia Peach .

Birthday Party Bartender, Uncategorized

60th Birthday Party in Chula Vista

Otay Ranch Community Clubhouse

In my previous blog I predicted I would be doing some traveling in January and that came true quickly as I drove almost tot Mexican border to bartend a 60th birthday party in Chula Vista. It was a last minute call on Sunday and I was happy to do it. I don’t do many parties in the San Diego area, but this month may be slim, so I jumped at it.

US/Mexico Border

The party was held at a very nice community club house in the Otay Ranch community in Chula Vista. You can literally see the US/Mexico border from that area. One thing that strikes me is the high mountains that dive the two countries on some areas of the border. I can see how crossing the border on foot is a very treacherous proposition.

I brought my portable bar and set it up inside the clubhouse. I helped the hosts set up tables and chairs, as they only had one hour to set up. The DJ set up his equipment in the balcony area, which worked perfectly. The caterer set up in the kitchen area.  We all had a job to do and we were all pros, so we know exactly what to do.

Guests dancing in Chula Vista

The hosts had never hired a bartender before, so they didn’t know quite what to expect. They bought all the beverages and supplies without any consultation from me, so they did what most people do – they bought way too much of some things and not enough of others. This is where a professional bartender can really save you some money, by consulting about the shopping list. I have done enough parties that I can estimate pretty accurately how much to buy.

Once the music got going and everybody had a couple of drinks, the party got going. The birthday girl must have danced every dance. It turned out to be a very nice 60th birthday party. 60 is certainly an important milestone.

Birthday girl with cake

As I said before, January looks like a slow month for me and I have nothing scheduled until a fundraiser at Huffington Center in Los Angeles on the 16th .  I am also booking weddings for later this year. I hope to get a party this weekend somewhere, and I will travel anywhere in Southern California. It is raining hard right now, and El Nino is here, so it might rain a lot this season.  California needs the rain, and it might get people in the partying mood before the month is over.

Birthday Party Bartender, Mobile Bartenders

Mobile Bartending a 60th Birthday Party in Long Beach

Shaken Not Stirred in the house
Shaken Not Stirred in the house

Saturday night Shaken Not Stirred mobile bartending service traveled to Long Beach to bartend a 60th birthday party for a repeat customer.  I took another bartender/server with me, and she had worked a previous party at the same location. A year earlier, I had fallen halfway into the pool at a previous party, and many of the guests didn’t let me forget about it. This time, there were nearly 100 guests and my helper and I had our work cut out for us.

The host prepares very well for her guests, and we had quite a well stocked bar to work with. We had five kinds of beer, red and white wine, and a full array of liquor. The host received a Maragaritaville margarita maker as a gift and she wanted to use it at the party. I have used one before, but couldn’t remember how to use it. Luckily, my assistant knows how to read directions and we figured it out. We made blended margaritas, daquiries, and pina colladas with the machine.

Looks intimidating doesn't it?
Looks intimidating doesn’t it?

As the night went on we served many shots, including Patron shots, fireball shots, Jaeger shots, and vodka. A few people “fell” into the pool, but fortunately this time I didn’t.  Falling into the pool becomes an inexpensive proposition when most people are carrying $400 I-phones. It was a pretty fun group of people, and one of the guests may book a party with me next month in Thousand Oaks.

Next week, I will be doing a large wedding in Malibu, then I have a rooftop birthday party scheduled in Marina Dell Rey later in the month, and a wedding in Hesperia. As I said before, the summer is slipping away. I still have some dates available, and always am available on the weekdays and nights to bartend corporate events.

Faster than a speeding bullet
Faster than a speeding bullet

Shaken Not Stirred Mobile Bartending

  • Birthday parties
  • Pool parties, barbecues
  • Anniversaries
  • Corporate events
  • Openings
  • Weddings, engagement parties
  • Quincianeras
  • Cocktail parties


If you have a need for a bartender last minute, don’t hesitate to call me. I am tired today after two events this weekend, but if somebody calls me today, I will go out. Somebody called me yesterday last minute because their bartender cancelled, and I was unable to help her, but sometimes I can, will be happy to do so. Shaken Not Stirred mobile bartending service covers the entire Southern California region.

Party Bartenders, Private Bartender

Palm Springs Bachelorette Party Bartender

Katsuya Fresh cocktails
Katsuya Fresh cocktails

Friday, I drove to Palm Springs for my second time as a bachelorette party bartender. Palm Springs seems to be the place that ladies from LA like to go for their bachelorette parties. Do you realize how hard it is to spell bachelorette? Anyway, there are many cool houses for weekend rentals that are perfect for this type of party. This particular house had a nice indoor bar with a sliding window that opened up to the pool area, so that people at the pool can come up and order drinks.

I worked with hosts of the party developing a drink menu. They requested the Katsuya Fresh as one of the specialty drinks. It was my first time making this cocktail, and it seemed to be a hit. There were nine ladies in attendance and we went through 3 bottles of vodka. The Katsuya Fresh is made with vodka, fresh lime juice, sake, and simple syrup. I also served spicy jalapeno margaritas, and gray hounds.

The ladies asked me to help them start the grill, and as I did that, I decided I would grill for them. This was my first time as grill master, and I really don’t have too much experience doing it, but I think I did ok. I would rather be busy than just standing behind the bar, and let the hosts enjoy themselves. I hope they were happy with my grilling, and I am afraid I didn’t cook the vegetables and corn long enough. There are some tricks to good grilling, and I should learn them, in case I run into this situation again.

Who's afraid of sharks?
Who’s afraid of sharks?

The ladies were surprised that I came all the way from Los Angeles to bartend a party in Palm Springs. I bartend in Palm springs because I like going out there. I can usually drive to Palm Springs quicker than I can drive to Orange County. I hope to be the bachelorette party bartender in Palm Springs on many more occasions.

I am quickly writing this, because I have to get ready for another event in Long Beach this afternoon. It is a 60th birthday party, and the second party I have done for this same client. I am taking a server with me also. Next weekend I have a big wedding in Malibu, and am taking three servers with me on that one. Summer is flying by and I am already booking parties into the holiday season.

Palm Springs bachelorettes
Palm Springs bachelorettes
Birthday Party Bartender

Northridge 60th Birthday Party: Back to the 60’s

My portable bar set up in kitchen
My portable bar set up in kitchen

Saturday, Shaken Not Stirred traveled across the San Fernando Valley to Northridge to bartend a 60th birthday party.  I have bartended almost every landmark birthday party, from the 40th, the 50th, to 21st. I was the bartender at a lady’s 90th birthday party.  Her daughter hosted the party and hired a Hawaiian trio to play music and the birthday girl couldn’t have been happier. Last night, the birthday celebrant’s husband threw the 60th birthday party for his wife and the theme was back to the 60’s. Everyone dressed as either the mod, the square, or the hippie.  The host spent all afternoon painstakingly putting together a playlist from the 60’s and 70’s.

I had corresponding specialty drinks the mod was the Belvedere martini, with a twist or an olive. The square was the Old Fashioned, and the hippie was the Dark and Stormy. I made the Dark and Stormy with the finest ingredients:  Gosling’s Black Seal rum, with Gosling’s Ginger Beer, a dash of bitters, and fresh squeezed lime juice.  I never had that drink when I was drinking and it certainly looks interesting. It was a hit at the Northridge party.

The host had contracted me to make a shopping list and then do the shopping. That is a service I provide for an extra fee. Many times the people who hire me don’t have time to do the shopping themselves. This time I bought all of the liquor and wine on the Bevmo website. It was great, because when I went in to pick it up it was all ready and they had a specific person in charge of internet orders take care of me. I was in and out of there within five minutes. I buy everything else at Smart and Final, which has the best deals on cups, sodas, and everything else.

Two hippies in Northridge
Two hippies in Northridge

The party was a success, and I hope that they hire me again. February was kind of slow for me, but I have several events lined up this month. I have five events scheduled in Palm Springs in March, and all on weekdays, so I still have two Saturdays open. Next Friday I am doing a wedding rehearsal in Palm Springs, and then have a birthday party to bartend on Saturday night in Wilmington, in the South Bay.

I have other news that I want to share with my readers here. Last week I launched my first novel, Palm Avenue, and here is the blog for that, with a link to Facebook page. I am giving free books away for certain milestones on the Facebook page. Here is the link to buy the paperback book on Amazon. The ebook version will be available in near future.

The good stuff
The good stuff
Wedding Bartender

Valentine’s Day Wedding in West Hills

westhills1Saturday was Valentine’s Day and Shaken Not Stirred provided bartending service and servers for a wedding in West Hills. This was my first time bartending an Ethiopian wedding, and it was quite an incredible experience. This is what I love about doing event bartending. I am exposed to so many different cultural customs and traditions at landmark events in people’s lives. I have bartended at Mexican weddings, Armenian Christenings, Qinceaneras,  Vietnamese engagement parties, Persian weddings, traditional Jewish weddings, military weddings,  and all kinds of birthday parties.

This Valentine’s Day wedding was held at a house in West Hills, on the far North west edge of the San Fernando Valley that overlooks the entire valley. The weather could not have been nicer. When you are planning weddings in Southern California, the odds are pretty good that there is a ninety percent chance of no rain. This particular house is available for weddings and other events, and I did not get the name of it, but it was an incredible venue.

Traditional Ethiopian wedding dance
Traditional Ethiopian wedding dance

I brought two servers with me and three of us were busy the entire time. I had spoken with the bride several times leading up to the event and I helped her plan a shopping menu.  Unfortunately, we had plenty of alcohol, but everybody seemed to only want one choice – Grey Goose. We ran out of Grey Goose vodka two hours into the reception and I sent one of my girls out to buy more.  Then a couple hours later we ran out again! I left the reception leaving the girls to hold down the fort and went and bought more. I am not a big believer in Grey Goose and think that it is way overpriced, but it was what the hosts wanted.

We served the champagne toast and we helped serve the wedding cake and then the party started winding down. I am bartending a 60th birthday party in Northridge on the 28th and am still available for the 21st, so who knows where that will take me. In March I have three events in Palm Springs, all on weekdays, so I still have three Saturdays open. The final Saturday of March I have a big wedding in Santa Ynez, where I will provide bartending service. And winter is almost over.

February in Southern California
February in Southern California
Birthday Party Bartender

Woodland Hills 60th Birthday Party

I have bartended 30th, 40th, and 50th birthday parties, and last night in Woodland Hills I was the bartender at my first 60th birthday party. The guest of honor thought she was going to have dinner with a few relatives, and got the surprise to see over 30 of her friends and relatives in attendance. Her son and daughter had hired me as the bartender. I have bartended many surprise birthday parties and it is always nice to see the look on the surprisee’s face when they get surprised.

The house where the party was held was near Serrania Park in Woodland Hills where I have a lot of history. My kids attended Woodland Hills Elementary not far away, my wife worked at Woodland Hills Country Club, and we always brought our dog to Serrania Park. It is a really nice area in the San Fernando Valley and there are some very nice homes there. This house had a very nice bar and room for entertaining. They had purchased martini glasses for the party.

I made cucumber martinis, lemon drops, cosmos, and classic martinis. I make the cucumber syrup and a lot of people really like it, but it is very concentrated and sweet and I have to be careful not to use too much of it. Last night I used a shot glass to measure it and I think the results were better. One of my clients complained in his Yelp review that the drinks were too sweet and I certainly took note. When I was drinking – I hated sweet drinks.

Next week on Friday I will be bartending a 21st birthday party in downtown LA. That will be another first for me. It is a Moroccan themed party and I have to come up with some Moroccan themed cocktail ideas. Saturday I am bartending a strictly non-alcoholic party in Orange County and I came up with several non-alcoholic cocktails for that event. I am doing at least two events every week and hope during the holiday season, it will be at least three.

If you are looking at this right now and you need a last minute bartender, don’t hesitate to call me. I will help you if I can. There have been times when bartenders didn’t show up when they were scheduled or showed up drunk and I stepped in. Weekends are my time to work and I love bartending parties all over Southern California and meeting new people. Call me!  Follow me on Twitter.

Crystal decanters and tulips
Crystal decanters and tulips
Drinks waiting to go out
Drinks waiting to go out