Tag Archives: birthday party

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!

 

Bartending Service Kicks off Summer with Three June Events

5 Jun
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First Friday Event 

Shaken Not Stirred, the Los Angeles based bartending service started off June with three big events last weekend. Friday I was in Venice to bartend a first Friday networking event at a law office near Abbot Kinney.  On Saturday, I drove to Santa Clarita to bartend a 40th birthday party, and then finished off the weekend in Hidden Hills for another birthday party. A busy weekend, just like I like it.

Abbot Kinney Blvd. is a thriving area in Los Angeles and on the First Friday of every month dozens of exciting food trucks converge on the area to offer a dazzling array of cuisine. It is a happening event that brings in a lot of people from out of the area, and young professionals in the area. So, the law firm that hired me has a monthly cocktail hour in conjunction with the First Friday event. I served wine, beer, and soft drinks to approximately 50 young professionals. It was a fun event, and hopefully they will call me again. I did all the shopping and delivered the supplies, which is an extra service I provide.

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Backyard 40th Birthday Party Setup

On Saturday, I went to Santa Clarita to do bartending service for a 40th birthday party. The hosts had a very nice backyard where I set up my portable bar on the patio. The husband had set up a very nice birthday party for his wife’s 40th birthday party. He even bought a whole DJ equipment package and was the DJ for the evening. It was his first time as a DJ, but I must say he did better than some professional DJ’s I have seen. I think it was definitely a memorable milestone birthday party for the birthday girl.

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DJ and Dancing in Santa Clarita

Advantages of Hiring a Bartending Service

  • Bartender keeps bar area clean and organized
  • Can provide shopping and delivery of supplies
  • Bartender creates specialty drinks
  • Guests are impressed
  • Hosts can enjoy themselves

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    My Son Behind Portable Bar in Hidden Hills

On Sunday I did a second annual birthday party in Hidden Hills. I remember last year I did it and it was blazing hot. The ice melted quickly. This year it was one of the first hot days of summer, but wasn’t that bad. They had over 100 guests, so I took my son with me to help out. We served a lot of margaritas, including my special jalapeno margarita, that is always a hit. The hosts had an important announcement to make – they are having a baby girl. The announcement was met with huge applause from the guests. The host told me I will be coming back to bartend the baby shower. I am blessed to have such great clients.

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Host Makes Big Announcement

I must mention that the weekend started with a bit of sadness. On Friday I lost my cat, Batman, who has been with me for 21 years. I am glad I was busy, so my mind was not focused on that. I was kind of expecting it, but it is always a shock with you lose a pet. This weekend I will be providing bartending service for a wedding in Rancho Palos Verdes, then have a another wedding at the Reptacular Ranch in Sylmar, and have other SFV and Orange County events later this month. Follow us on Instagram.

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RIP Batman 1997-2018

Five Events in Two Weeks: From the Mountains to the Sea

19 Sep

I have been so busy doing the actual work or running a bartending service, I have neglected doing my blog posts. Shaken Not Stirred has provided bartending services at events in Fillmore, San Diego, Bermuda Dunes, Valley Village, and Studio City over the past two weeks. The events included a wedding, a corporate event, a bachelorette party, and two birthday parties. I did some traveling and two of the events were within 10 minutes of my house.

Fillmore Wedding

I have done a couple of events in the town of Fillmore in Ventura County. It is always nice going out there and it is a small town of 14,000 people that is not on any major freeway. The wedding was held at the City Hall, just next to the old train station in the center of town. It was a perfect day for a wedding, and the they had the city hall decorated real nice.

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Fillmore City Hall

I set up my portable bar on the side of the courtyard and served drinks for approximately 150 people. The host rented a margarita machine, which I had never used before. It seemed easy enough, but it presented many problems. First of all, it kept causing the breaker to switch off, because it pulled so much power. Then it started leaking and leaked out half of its contents before I could get it to stop. It takes at least two hours for the liquid to get slushy, and then the drinks don’t taste very good. I wouldn’t recommend. Other than that, it was a very nice wedding in an idyllic setting.

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Margarita Machine – I don’t recommend

San Diego Corporate Event

I don’t try to get a lot of work in San Diego, because it can be an odyssey getting there and back from the SFV. One of my corporate clients asked me to go down there, and of course I couldn’t refuse. I have done several events for this company in orange county. They are usually product launch events, as was this one. I served drinks for about 100 people. Another successful corporate event.

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San Diego Product Launch

Bermuda Dunes Bachelorette Party

On Friday I drove to Bermuda Dunes to bartend a bachelorette party. Have you ever tried to spell the word “bachelorette”? The host wanted specialty cocktails that required a bit of preparation.  One of the drinks was a watermelon/cucumber margarita. I premade the mix for that using fresh ingredients.  We discovered at the party that the drink benefitted from fresh jalapenos. The ladies had six bottles of booze and wondered if that would be enough for nine people. “If you drink all of that booze, you will be in the hospital. Well, they went through 90 percent of it, and they all were still alive when I left. They loved the drinks.septem4

Valley Village Birthday Party

I only had to drive five minutes from my house to do this party. The hosts have a really nice house in Valley Village with a very smartly landscaped yard that is perfect for entertaining. I made my special jalapeno margarita mix, but unfortunately did not bring enough. There were 70 guests and everybody wanted that for their first round. I was out of that in one hour. So the host had to run and get more supplies. I made the French 75, classic champagne cocktail and was surprised how many of those I served. I want to give a shout out to Salinas Churros that were there. They had an incredible churro cart that they built themselves and their churros were delicious. The churro cart was a big hit.  I served drinks until 2 am and until almost all of the booze was gone. Went through at least 10 bottles of tequila.

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Rager in Valley Village

Studio City Surprise Birthday Party

On Sunday I ended the week by bartending a surprise birthday party in the hills of Studio City. This was a referral from another job I did, which I always appreciate. This was a very mellow family event and kids were there swimming. They had a life guard,  which is always a good idea. I served margaritas, Moscow mules, and beer. It was a very mellow event, which I was grateful for after the two ragers I did before.

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Hills of Studio City

This coming week I have two weekday corporate events in Woodland Hills and West Hollywood. I have three events on Saturday and am sending multiple bartenders out to Mission Viejo, Villa Park, and Silverlake. Shaken Not Stirred has booked 17 events in September and the month is just flying by. I have events in Culver City, Burbank, and La Verne before I close out the month of September 2017. Follow us on Instagram.

 

Shaken Not Stirred Gig Bartender Does Events Across SoCal

7 Aug
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Picturesque Simi Valley

Southern California’s traveling gig bartender, Shaken Not Stirred bartended several events in the past two weeks across the region. I have been very busy the past two weeks and have not had time to keep up with this blog. I have done events in Inglewood, Downtown LA, Pacific Palisades, Fullerton, Beverly Hills, and Simi Valley. All were successful, and I think my clients were happy with my service – I did pick up some more five star reviews and referrals.

I started off the string of events in Downtown LA at the La Kretz Innovation Campus. SheEO sponsored an fundraising event and I served wine and soft drinks to approximately 50 ladies. SheEO seems like a very worthwhile organization, and should appeal to any female entrepreneurs. I hope to do more events with them in the future.

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SheEo Event in Downtown LA

Next I bartended a party in Inglewood attended largely by a local contingent of Nigerian immigrants. They served traditional Nigerian food, like jerk goat, and mint pies. I served wine, beer, and cocktails. The host invited me to work there every Friday night. I was tempted by the offer of ongoing work, but turned it down. An ongoing weekly gig feels too much like a job to me. I would rather see where the universe takes me.

Types of Events for a Gig Bartender

  • Birthday parties
  • Weddings
  • Corporate Events
  • Fundraisers
  • Pool parties
  • Class Reuinions

The day after, I went to Pacific Palisades to bartend a summer/company party. A local law firm held the party for employees and friends. I set up my portable bar on the deck next to the pool. It was a hot summer night, and I got bitten several times by mosquitos, which is rare in California. The host had a very nice selection of liquor and mixers and I was able to make some craft cocktails.

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Guests mingle in Pacific Palisades

On Sunday, I traveled to Orange County to the Fullerton Community Center to bartend a wedding. It was a my first time working the venue and it had a large ballroom big enough to seat at least two hundred people. Over 100 people attended this wedding and I kept pretty busy making drinks for all of those people. Luckily they were mostly wine drinkers, which makes to easier for me to serve 100 people by myself.

Mid week I bartended a corporate event in Beverly Hills for one of my best clients. They have hired me for at least a dozen events, and most of the events are one weekdays, which I really appreciate. I brought another bartender with me and we served cocktails to approximately 75 guests. It was deathly hot and humid that night in Los Angeles, with the humidity hovering at 60 percent.

I finished off the week in beautiful Simi Valley bartending a baby shower on Saturday Night. The humid weather subsided, and it was an extremely pleasant night for August in Simi Valley. It even got a bit chilly after the sun went down. I served cocktails to around 50 guests and finished at 11pm.

This coming weekend I have only one event scheduled for Saturday night, but that could change. I will be bartending a birthday party in Northridge. Later this month I have events in Tujunga, San Diego, Irvine, and Hawthorne. All of my Saturdays are booked through October. Please follow Shaken Not Stirred, the gig bartender on Instagram.

Chino Sweet 16 Party and Channel Islands 70th Birthday Party

3 Jul
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Tables set up in Chino for Sweet 16 Party

Shaken Not Stirred traveled all over Southern California last weekend and provided bartending service for two important milestone birthdays. On Friday I drove to Chino to bartend for a sweet 16 birthday party, and then on Saturday I drove the opposite direction to bartend a 70th birthday party at Channel Islands Harbor. I had another bartender do an event in Villa Park as well. It was the start of the Fourth of July weekend and traffic in Socal was a bear.

The host in Chino rented tables and chairs and set up for over 100 people in the backyard of his home. I served alcoholic beverages to approximately 40 guests, and there were about 60 minors who I served soft drinks to. Johnny Walker Black was the number one drink of choice, and the thing about that is people either drink it on the rocks, or with soda. No fancy mixology involved.

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Adults mingle at Sweet 16 Party

The hosts and all of the guests were of Indian heritage and the food served was 100 percent vegetarian. Raul’s Catering of Rialto provided the tacos and burritos and he told me that he specializes in vegetarian food for Indian themed parties. I am not a vegetarian myself, and am reluctant to try vegetarian food, but Raul’s vegetarian chorizo burritos were spicy and excellent. Had he not told me they were vegetarian, I would not have known.

It took me over two hours to drive to Chino, and an hour to drive home. On Saturday, it took two hours to drive to Oxnard as well. Fourth of July weekend is a terrible time to drive anywhere in Southern California. I always leave way early. The party at Channel Islands Harbor was originally going to have 80 guests, and then two weeks before the event, the host bumped it t0 150 guests. I needed to hire an extra bartender, but could not find anyone last minute in Los Angeles, so I turned to Craigslist.

I have had mixed luck hiring people on Craigslist in the past. I usually ask for a picture and resume. I want to see if the people look presentable. I got a few responses, but most of the people can barely write a legible response. They write things like, sup, how much in tips will I make, and they don’t include a picture. One guy wrote a very intelligent response and included a picture, so I hired him over the phone.

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Channel Islands Harbor

On the day of the event, I texted the guy in the morning to confirm he would be there. He responded yes, so I felt I had nothing to worry about. I got to the location at the harbor and started setting up and one half hour before the bar back was supposed to be there, I got a text from him saying he was being pulled over by the police and that he had warrants and was probably going to be arrested. I had to scramble to find somebody else. I asked one of the servers there if she knew anybody and she did! Her brother could do it.

I started serving the guests at 4pm and the replacement barback showed up just in time at 5pm. We did not stop serving drinks for six hours straight. I must have made 600 drinks myself, and thank God the other guy showed up to help me. The party was to celebrate the 70th bithday party of a very revered man and former fire captain of Oxnard, and many of the guests were firemen that worked for him. It was a great event and they had a live band and Polynesian dancers for entertainment, but I was too busy making drinks to even pay attention.

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Guests having a ball at 70th Birthday Party

Tomorrow is Independence Day and I am bartending a party in Rolling Hills, at a home that has excellent views of the San Pedro fireworks show, and the Long Beach fireworks, so I am looking forward to that. Friday I am going to San Diego to do a wedding, and then on Saturday I am doing a wedding at an exotic animal ranch in Sylmar. Please follow me on Instagram.

 

Santa Monica 40th Birthday

30 May
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Guests arrive to Santa Monica 40th Birthday party

On Saturday I bartended a 40th birthday party in Santa Monica as I am still recovering from a fractured rib. I took a friend to help me, and am grateful to have the help, but feel like I am recovered enough to do jobs myself now. It is amazing how quickly this has gotten better, because just a week ago, I couldn’t even drive a car. I realize I am not 100 percent yet, and I am only doing the events I already have scheduled for the next few weeks.

The birthday party in Santa Monica took place on the courtyard of an apartment complex. Many apartment complexes around town have common areas or club houses where people can have parties. I set up my bar in one corner of the courtyard, and the caterer, Hampton’s Catering, set up his station right next to me.

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Barback Steve sits behind portable bar

I made Moscow Mules, Old Fashioneds, Dirty martinis, and Margaritas for about 50 guests. The way I like to make margaritas now is by using tequila, organic fresh lime juice, and a shot of agave nectar. I rim the glass with salt, and I had many fans of this simple margarita. The classic Old Fashioned was the second most popular drink of the night.

40th Birthday Party Ideas

  • Hire a bartender
  • Choose a theme
  • Provide good music
  • Hire a caterer
  • Backyard or courtyard party

I think parties like this are so much nicer than meeting in a restaurant to celebrate. Even with caterer, bartender, and supplies, a person can put on a party like this for under $1000. What is $1000 when it comes to celebrating such an important milestone. Of course, you can go bigger and hire a DJ or even live entertainment.

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Hampton’s Catering sets up

This weekend I believe I will be bartendting another 40th birthday party right here in Van Nuys, and then the following week I will be doing events in Orange County, and in Rolling Hills Estates. Hopefully by next month I will be back at 100 percent and fully recovered.  

A Bunch of Events, New Orleans, and Fractured Ribs

27 May
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Famous Maple Leaf Bar, New Orleans

Today is the first day I have felt like sitting at a desk and writing since returning from my trip from New Orleans and recovering from fractured ribs. I visited New Orleans for the first time last week and had an accident falling out of the hotel shower where I fractured my ribs. I returned to LA and have been laid up in severe pain this entire week – I finally feel much better today, but am not 100 percent. Shaken Not Stirred was very busy the week before I left on my trip, and I have even done a couple events since I’ve been back and haven’t written about any of them on this blog.

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Interior, Maple Leaf Bar

The week before I left on my trip I did five big events. I bartended an alumni event in Burbank, did a bris celebration in Studio City, traveled to Indian Wells to bartend a rehearsal dinner for Goodfella’s Tacos, drove back to Castaic to bartend a graduation party, and then on Sunday bartended a Mother’s Day party in Woodland Hills. I left for New Orleans the next morning. That was one of my busiest weeks since I started the company.

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Alumni event, Burbank

I went to New Orleans to attend the wedding of my friend, Jason Ricci. He is one of the best harmonica players in the world today. My accident happened on the day before the wedding. I was able to attend the wedding ceremony, but was in so much pain, had to leave shortly after and missed the big jam session at the famous Maple Leaf Bar where the wedding party was held. I was very disappointed about that. Despite my accident, I loved the city and people of New Orleans, and will return for sure. The food is incredible, and we Yankees could all learn a thing or two about Southern hospitality.

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Indian Wells Rehearsal Dinner 

The flight back was excruciating with broken ribs, and had not the nice lady sitting next to me given me a Vicodin, I can imagine the plane having to land in Nashville or somewhere because I was moaning so much. I returned on Thursday and had two upcoming gigs on Saturday and Sunday that I had no idea how I was going to complete. I could not bend down, turn my body, or lift anything above four pounds without wincing in pain.

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Mariachis perform at Castaic graduation party

I called some other bartenders and tried to get somebody to take my gigs, but could not find anybody on short notice. I decided to get a friend to help me and I could sit on a stool and mix drinks. I will never cancel a gig I have taken a deposit for, and will to the best of my ability get the job done. My friend drove me to Fontana and we got the job done and I bartended a birthday party for 60 people. It was painful, but not as bad as I thought it would be.

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Shots!

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Irvine Graduation Party 

The next day we turned around and drove to Irvine to bartend a graduation party of 100 people. Once again, we got the job done, and I couldn’t have done it without my friend, Steve, who had no previous bartending experience. While we were doing that gig, I had three other bartenders doing a fundraiser event in Beverly Hills, which came off very well I have heard.

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Guests enjoy cigars at Fontana birthday party

I spend all of last week laying around letter my ribs heal. I went to the doctor and got xrays and at least three ribs are fractured. I have several events already scheduled for this month, but am not taking on any new ones until I am completely healed. Tonight I am bartending a birthday party in Santa Monica, and my friend is coming along to help me. Next week I am doing a birthday party close to home in Van Nuys. Hopefully, by next month I will be fully recovered and ready to roll for the summer party and wedding season.

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Injured bartender in Fontana