Tag Archives: Bakersfield

Rancho Yeguado Trujillo Wedding

6 Sep
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Stone wedding arch at Rancho Yeguado Trujillo

On Saturday Shaken Not Stirred traveled to the outer limits of Southern California to provide bartending service at Rancho Yeguado Trullio wedding. To get there, you drive north on the 5 Freeway over the grapevine, then you take a left turn on Highway 166. You drive through a lot of farm land, through beautiful Maricopa, and then over some barren hills to the town of New Cuyama, population 161. In California, this is about as the close to the middle of nowhere you can get. Just when you think you are lost, you see this fantastic structure off the road next to many horse stables.

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Fountain behind stadium

You turn onto a cobble stone road and drive past many horse stables and beautiful horses, a stone stadium and fantastic fountain. I was unprepared for this – and was thinking – what is this, Pablo Escobar’s California home? It is the Rancho Yeguado Trujillo. It has a quite a history, which you can read about here. The information about it online as a wedding venue is a little hard to come by, but it is a fantastic place. I have been to many spectacular wedding venues around California, but the Rancho Yeguado Trujillo wins the prize for grandeur.  The stone platform where the bride and groom sit looks like it was built for a Roman emperor.

Rancho Yeguado Trujillo Wedding Venue

  • Secluded, scenic location
  • Beautiful stone structures
  • Adjacent chapel
  • Ample parking and room for vendors
  • Band shell

 

The wedding had 300 guests in attendance, mostly coming from Bakersfield, which is the closest population center. My son came with me and we set up my two portable bars side by side. The caterer, Victor’s Mexican Grill of Bakersfield set up adjacent to us on the stone walkways that surround the property. We didn’t get hit all at once like we usually do when wedding ceremonies end, but we did get and served hundreds if not thousands of drinks during the night. We kept running out of ice and somebody would go fetch more – I don’t know where they were going for it, because there aren’t exactly many stores around there.

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Mariachis serenade guests

It was a busy wedding and I think everyone had a good time. We went through a case of tequilla, and nearly a case of Buchanon’s. They had Mariachis and another Mexican band providing the entertainment. After the wedding, my son and I loaded up and stayed at a motel in nearby Maricopa. On Sunday, I had to get up and drive to Acton to bartend another party.

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Shots!

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New Year’s Eve Party Welcomes in 2016

2 Jan
"The Last Word" cocktail

“The Last Word” cocktail

Thursday night, Shaken Not Stirred provided bartending service for a New Year’s Eve party in Sherman Oaks, ringing out 2015. The party was the perfect event to end the year on, and begin the new one. 2015 was a great year for Shaken Not Stirred, and we have increased our client list considerably. December was one of the busiest months we have had, and for that I am very grateful. One of the highlights was when Shaken Not Stirred was chosen Number 1 Bar Caterer in Los Angeles for 2015, by Thumbtack.

The New Year’s Eve party was something I booked a couple of months ago, and I had at least 30 requests since then for New Year’s Eve. I think the first year I was in business I didn’t even get a New Year’s Eve party. It seems that many people are opting to have parties at home, rather than go out and get gouged. I charge more for New Year’s Eve than other nights, but even so, I think the host was able to do their whole for party for 30 people, food and beverages included for under $1,000. I remember once, when I was married my wife and I went to a NYE party in Malibu, and spent that much for the two of us.

The party had a Prohibition era theme, and I made several cocktails from that period that the host chose. The cocktail menu included the Last Word, Mint Julep, Fleur di Paradis, Whiskey Sour, and the Old Fashioned. The Fleur di Paradis turned out to be the big favorite of the night. The drink calls for gin, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup, St Geramine liqueur, and a champagne topper.

Guests dressed in their Prohibition era best

Guests dressed in their Prohibition era best

My daughter, Pia helped me out, and this is the third or fourth party she has helped me with. She will have a full time job soon and probably won’t be able to assist me much next year. It’s a shame, because some of the guests mentioned what a cool duo we make. I have several other good servers and bartenders available to help me also.

Goodbye 2015!

Goodbye 2015!

This month, January is looking slow, so far – I have a couple of parties booked. Last year in January I did 6 events, and hope I will have at least that many this month. Last month, I was able to do most of my parties in the San Fernando Valley, but I have a feeling I will be traveling during these slow months, and that means, Palm Springs, San Diego, Santa Barbara, and Bakersfield. Shaken Not Stirred looks forward to a record year in 2016. Bring it on!

Hello 2016!

Hello 2016!

Event Bartender Finishes November

30 Nov
View of Century City at dusk

View of Century City at dusk

Shaken Not Stirred, the Los Angeles event bartender service, finished the month of November with two big events. The first event was a Monday cocktail party at a luxurious apartment on the 15th floor of a Wilshire Boulevard high rise in Westwood. The second event of the week was a 50th birthday party held at a very nice HOA community building at a housing development in Valencia.

An event bartender has many different types of jobs, and I have experience doing all kinds of different parties, in all kinds of situations. The cocktail party in Westwood, was more about being a waiter than mixing drinks. The event was held in a stunning apartment full of amazing artwork, with a 180 degree view of West LA, Century City, the Pacific Ocean and Catalina. There were only 12 guests and my job was to keep their drinks full, mostly wine, hand out appetizers and clean up. Invisible service is called for in these situations. Some clients want the bartender to be the entertainment, and this was not one of those situations. The host asked me if I could also be a waiter at dinner parties, and I told him I can, because I have many years of fine dining experience. Some event bartenders don’t want to do food serving gigs, but I will do them, especially on weekdays.

West LA sunset

West LA sunset

Duties of an Event Bartender

  • Help host plan drink menu and shopping list
    Prepare garnishes, special mixers, etc.
    Setup and maintain bar
    Keep drinks iced and at proper temperatures
    Suggest drinks for guests
    Continuous cleanup of bar and surrounding areas
    Leave bar area as it was before

By Wednesday of last week I had nothing scheduled for Saturday night after Thanksgiving, but picked a party up Thursday morning. I spent Thanksgiving with family in Bakersfield, and then returned to Los Angeles to bartend the Saturday night party in Valencia. The host did not consult with me at all about a shopping list and drink menu, so I showed up not knowing really anything about the party or what they wanted to serve.

Hippie backdrop at 50th birthday party

Hippie backdrop at 50th birthday party

I set up my portable bar and saw what they had to serve and acted accordingly. They had rum and Pina Collada mix, and tequila with various margarita mixes. So, it was a blended drink night. I had my blender and made many blended drinks for the 50th birthday party. It was not a hard drinking crowd, but I think a good time was had by all.

Guests pose for a picture in Valencia

Guests pose for a picture in Valencia

This week starts off the December season of holiday parties. On Thursday I will bartend for a good repeat client at their office in Rancho Mirage. On Saturday I will bartend a holiday party close to home in Valley Village, which is also a repeat customer. I have many more holiday parties scheduled and during one week of December have five in a row. I do still have some dates open, so please call me if you need a bartender.

Altadena Surprise Party and Bakersfield Wedding

23 Jun
Getting "surprised"

Getting “surprised”

Friday started the weekend in Altadena for Shaken Not Stirred, where I traveled to bartend for a surprise party. The father hired me for his son’s 35th birthday surprise birthday, and it was martini themed party.  Friends and family gathered in the backyard, while the one of the birthday boy’s friends took him out to distract him long enough for us to get ready. I think he was truly surprised and overwhelmed when he did arrive.

I made Manhattans, dirty vodka martinis, gin martinis, and Lemon Drops. I brought my own martini glasses and they had several. It is always a pleasure for me to make martinis and serve them in real glassware. The presentation is just so much nicer. The birthday boy’s father manned the barbeque and made some killer trip tip.

Guests enjoying martinis in Altadena

Guests enjoying martinis in Altadena

For this job, I did all the shopping . It is a service I offer for a fee. I will buy everything you need, including all the alcohol, mixers, cups, straws, napkins and ice. I require an up front deposit for this, plus the service charge. People have trusted me with hundreds of dollars for this and I have never done them wrong. I have an excellent reputation and don’t want to jeopardize it one bit.

Saturday, I traveled to Bakersfield for my second wedding in Kern County. I also did the shopping for this wedding, and spent most of my day Saturday getting all the supplies together for a 100 person wedding. The wedding was held at the Junior League of Bakersfield. It is a historic building in downtown Bakersfield. I set up my portable bar in the corner of the dining room.

I served Mojitos, Margaritas, and various vodka drinks to the guests.  When serving Mojitos to a large crowd like this, I make a large batch, and serve them that way. I also get several drinks ready as the ceremony is taking place, so that when everybody rushes in afterward, I can make the line go fast. It is ideal to have a barback, but I handled the 100 person  Bakersfield wedding by myself just fine.

Junior League of Bakersfield wedding

Junior League of Bakersfield wedding

Everything went pretty well until the last five minutes, when friends and family were cleaning up the dining room. Some drama broke out among some of the guests outside. The bride looked at me and rolled her eyes, “We almost made it without something like that happening. We almost made it,” she said.  It seems that machismo and alcohol don’t always mix. Believe me, nobody knows that better than me. Kevin Rush was the DJ and he helped to diffuse the situation. I can see that he is a true pro and dealing with situations like that, and also did a very good job of DJing and running the wedding program for the night.

This weekend I have an engagement party in Porter Ranch, and then a Fourth of July party coming up in Orange County.  I still have a few dates open in July, so book your parties now.

Shots!

Shots!

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