Tag Archives: Camarillo

Wedding at McCormick Home Ranch

4 Apr
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Before the ceremony

Saturday, Shaken Not Stirred provided bartending service for a storybook wedding at McCormick Home Ranch in Camarillo. This was the first Spring wedding of the season, and the flowers were in full bloom at the ranch and the day was absolutely perfect. The sun was bright during the 4:30 ceremony, but a cool breeze blew in from the ocean. April is a beautiful month to have a wedding in Ventura County.

The bride and groom came all the way from Japan to get married. My initial consultation and interview with them was done via Facebook video chat. The bride grew up in Simi Valley, so she came back home to get married. The groom is from England, and many of his friends and family came from there to attend the wedding. There were guests from all over the country, and the four corners of the world at the McCormick Home Ranch wedding. This was my third time bartending at the ranch and it is one of my favorite venues.

McCormick Home Ranch Weddings

  • Historic estate
  • Beautiful gardens and front yard
  • Secluded location
  • Huge parking area
  • Multiple areas for ceremony

Catering was provided by Green Acres Farm Market and Catering of Simi Valley. They put up an excellent spread of appetizers during the cocktail hour, and then barbecue goodies for the dinner.  DJ services and photo booth were provided by Vox Dj’s of Manhattan Beach. One Sweet Day Events did the wedding planning, and they were great to work with. The groom said during his speech that everything had materialized just as they had hoped for and better. The bride and groom looked impeccable and they could have been placed upon top of a giant wedding cake to show everyone else how it’s done.

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Storybook wedding at McCormick Home Ranch

I made a specialty drink out of fresh grapefruit juice I had squeezed. We made Palomas with tequila, simple syrup, fresh grapefruit juice, and club soda. I also made Sangria, which was a hit. I have made Sangria in the past and there were few takers, but this time it seemed to be popular. My son, Willie, helped me and will soon be going out on jobs by himself. He has worked with me at several weddings and is ready.

april2a

Hurry sundown!

I am currently doing corporate events at the LA Mart in downtown Los Angeles through tomorrow, and then I am out to La Quinta on Friday to bartend a wedding, and then another one on Saturday night. I love bartending weddings, and the wedding at McCormick Home Ranch was a good one to kick off the season with.

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Shots!

40th Birthday Party in the City of Orange

1 Jun
Friends and family enjoy a toast

Friends and family enjoy a toast

Saturday night Shaken Not Stirred traveled to the City of Orange to bartend a 4oth birthday party. They requested a server and I took one of my best with me. We arrived on time, but no thanks to my GPS, which took me on some convoluted route that potentially cost us 30 minutes on the road. I hate being late, and always leave plenty early – I would rather arrive way early and hang out in the area, than be stressing in heavy traffic with only minutes to go. In Los Angeles, traffic on Saturdays is murder.

The drink special of the night was the Vodka Collins. I make the drink with vodka, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup, and club soda. The drink seemed to be a hit because many people kept returning for another. I also made some Old Fashioneds, and we served Victoria beer, which seems to be the popular new Mexican beer on the scene. Moet Chandon was the champagne of choice, and we also served Nero D’Avola, the red wine from Sicily.

Makeshift dance floor

Makeshift dance floor

The party took place in a condo and we set up the portable bar in the kitchen. We used real glassware, which was always nice. They did not hire a caterer, but instead got empanadas and finger sandwiches. My server kept replenishing the food and helped me with glassware etc. We both kept pretty busy the entire party.

Shots!

Shots!

I was hired to do this party from another party I had bartended at in Orange County. I was booked to do another party in October, at this one. It is always nice when I don’t have work so hard to generate new business. I am constantly bidding on Thumbtack, Gig Salad, and leads that come from Yelp and this blog. My phone skills are much better than they were in the beginning, and if I can get new clients on the phone, I can usually close the deal.

Shaken Not Stirred has been in business for over two years and I have bartended at over 150 events.  This week I have three events scheduled, including a wedding at the McCormick Ranch Home in Camarillo, a Vegas themed cocktail party in Manhattan Beach, and a champagne tasting in Santa Monica on Sunday.

Shaken Not Stirred Provided Bartending Service at Camarillo Wedding

30 Aug

Last night, Shaken Not Stirred provided bartending service for a wedding at the McCormick Home Ranch in Camarillo. I brought along another bartender to serve wine and beer to around 150 guests at this very nice venue. I hope to bartend many more events at this location in Ventura County. The weather was perfect for a wedding and a nice ocean breeze blowing in from the coast provided natural air conditioning.

Forever Young Brewery,  provided some kegs and he had a keg cooler with Co2 bottles, which makes it very easy for the bartenders. This is really the best way to serve beer from kegs – and I dread the pump up taps that slow service way down and the beer is often way too foamy. We had six different beers to serve, from a light ale, an IPA, two different porters, a stout, and Coors Light. We served completely out of the Ale and IPA, but there was plenty of the other beers left over. We also served Chardonnay, a Moscato, Merlot, and Cabernet. We ran out of white wine, which is always the biggest seller at weddings.

After the initial rush directly after the wedding ceremony, I probably could have handled this party by myself, but I usually recommend that people book two bartenders for parties over one hundred people. I have several great people who work with me, and the service is much quicker, especially when a big line to the bar forms. We usually try to pick up empty glasses and keep the tables and area clean when we aren’t busy. Good bartending service is about providing all around service, not just serving drinks.

Bruce Barrios provided the DJ services and he says that Ventura County is his territory. He says he does several events a year at the McCormick Home Ranch, and I hope to work with him again. Wood Ranch Barbecue

McCormick Home Ranch in Camarillo

McCormick Home Ranch in Camarillo

Future bride with her daddy

Future bride with her daddy

Action shot bartending

Action shot bartending

The sparkler gauntlet

The sparkler gauntlet

provided the catering and their food is always excellent. My son has worked for them for years and they are a very good company that is growing in Ventura, Los Angeles, and Orange counties.

Tonight I have another wedding in El Monte, and then tomorrow am doing a backyard pre Labor Day party in Redondo Beach. This marks the official end of the summer, but not the wedding season, as I still have several wedding coming up in Westlake Village, Temecula, Palm Springs, and I just booked one in Santa Ynez.  I am flying to Montana on Monday for a week long vacation, and then am providing bartending service for a cocktail party on my first day back in Beverly Hills.

 

Mobile Bartender Services Tehacapi Wedding

25 Aug

Saturday, Shaken Not Stirred, the Los Angeles mobile bartender that travels all over Southern California, provided beverage service at a Tehacapi wedding in Kern County. The wedding was held at a new wedding venue at a very picturesque location outside of Tehacapi called the Rose Garden Estate. The weather and scenery couldn’t have been nicer. Once the sun went down, the sky was clearer and the stars were brighter than I have seen them in a long time. It is far enough away from LA for that.

Rose Garden Estate Wedding

Rose Garden Estate Wedding

First Dance

First Dance

Salud!

Salud!

I talked to owner who operates the venue and he said he built the business specifically to do weddings and events, and he also operates it as a bed and breakfast. He has all the tables, dance floor, lights, and almost everything else needed for a wedding right there. I brought my portable bar and set it up as people were rushing around preparing for the ceremony. I hope to bartend more events at that venue.

The ceremony was held outside on the lawn overlooking the valley. The reception and dinner was held in a big building there designed for that purpose. About seventy guests were in attendance. The bride wanted to limit the number of drinks each person had and she did that by issuing four tickets to each person. That way, theoretically each person’s limit would be four drinks. She did not wanting people getting drunk and out of control.

I told her there is almost no way to keep an alcoholic from getting drunk and out of control once they start drinking. They either have their own supply, or they beg other family members for extra tickets, etc. Well, fortunately, nobody seemed to be drunk and out of control. As a certified bartender it is my job to spot people who have had too much and cut them off accordingly. That rarely has to happen – I am happy to report that the vast majority of the people I serve at weddings and other events drink responsibly. There are usually a few that are a problem, but I know how to spot them.

We did run out of alcohol just as the party was ending, but there was a lot of beer left. I help my clients with their shopping lists and I am usually pretty accurate on how much they should by. Next weekend I have two weddings booked – one in Camarillo, and one in El Monte. The wedding season sows no signs of fading out, as I am continuing to book weddings into September, October, and November. The weather in Southern California is so nice, that there is plenty of work for a mobile bartender all year long.

Studio City Backyard Party

17 Aug

Last night I bartended a backyard party that served both as the host’s birthday party, and to celebrate the recent completion of landscaping to the backyard. It was another hot day in the San Fernando Valley and I couldn’t wait for the sun to go down as I set up my portable bar beside the pool. We were expecting around forty guests and I transferred the host’s liquor from his indoor bar to my portable bar by the pool. He had a pretty well staffed bar and we were able to cover almost all bases in the liquor department.

I made a batch of cucumber/mint syrup to try out at this party and it went over well. Several guests requested cucumber margarita over and over again. The cucumber syrup also mixes well with vodka and rum. It is very concentrated and I only put about an ounce of it into each drink. I can’t wait to try other concoctions, like peach, mango, and melon. Somebody else brought jalapeno syrup and I made her favorite drink with that. The second most popular drink of the night was the Malibu Bay Breeze.

The sun finally went down and there was some relief from the heat. Some of the guests brought their swimming trunks and dove into the pool, turning the backyard party into a pool party.  The host requested that I stay an hour longer than my scheduled time and I was glad to do it. I think it is foolish for a bartender to leave when a party is still going strong. I always stay later when requested and am glad to do so. When I schedule a party on a Saturday night, I have no other pressing business.

It was nice staying in my neighborhood doing parties for the last two weeks, but am going on the road again next weekend to do a wedding in Tehachapi. Then I have two more weddings to do the following weekend in Camarillo and El Monte. The wedding season obviously isn’t over because I have other weddings already booked in September and October.

People ask me how far in advance they should book me, and I say if you agree the price is right – do it now. About a week ago somebody was talking to me about a date in November and they said they would get back to me. The next day I booked a party on that same date and took a deposit. I always book with the first person who pays a deposit. Even if a better deal comes my way – I honor my agreements with those people who have paid me a deposit. You can follow me on Twitter here.

Portable bar on Studio City patio

Portable bar on Studio City patio

Guests mingling beside pool

Guests mingling beside pool

After sundown

After sundown

Studio City Wedding at “New York Street”

11 Aug

Saturday Shaken Not Stirred travelled all the way to New York Street

Mia bartending at New York Street

Mia bartending at New York Street

Real New Yorkers!

Real New Yorkers!

New York Street wedding

New York Street wedding

The toast...

The toast…

Shots!

Shots!

at CBS Studios in Studio City to bartend a wedding. It was a party of 200 people and I took another bartender, Mia, who has worked with me several times. This was my first event at the studio and I was nervous – big parties like this have the potential to go wrong in many different ways. My method of combating potential problems is to arrive early.

I did arrive one hour early and the first problem I noticed was that there weren’t enough cups. That was probably my fault because I had made a shopping list for the clients and they just followed it. Luckily, Mia had not arrived yet and was able to pick some more cups up. I recommend that people buy at least four times the number of cups as there are guests. Yes, a lot go to waste, but I don’t know how to remedy that.

The second problem was that the ice had not yet arrived when guests started arriving for the cocktail hour before dinner. People were waiting for 20 minutes before we had ice. This has happened at several weddings. I guess it’s just one of those details that slips through the cracks. Once the ice arrived, everything else went smoothly.

The host had chosen a speciality cocktail, the Cucumber Margarita. I volunteered to make the cucumber syrup, although I had never made it before. It turned out great! I made a gallon of it and it is very concentrated. I used fresh lemon/lime juice to mix with it. The cumber taste comes through loud and clear. It mixes well with vodka and tequila and I made myself a non-alcoholic drink with the syrup, lemon/lime and soda water that was really good.  Wow, I’m now a real “mixologist” though I hate that term and think it is pretentious.

The wedding was a really nice affair and the weather couldn’t have been nicer. We ran out of beer an hour before the party ended, but still had plenty of vodka and tequila left. This was a nearly eight hour party, and I guess I didn’t take into consideration it was two or three hours longer than most parties when I made the shopping list.  Next weekend, I have a birthday party in Studio City, and then I have three more weddings later this month in Tehachapi, Camarillo, and El Monte.

Bartending All Over Southern California

29 Aug

August is winding down and the summer parties and weddings will continue through the Labor Day weekend. Fall is coming and hopefully cooler weather as people have Indian Summer weddings, birthday parties, and other events before the holiday season kicks off. The past two weekends have kept me busy traveling to events in Camarillo (VenturaCounty), Los Alamitos (OrangeCounty), and Pasadena in Los Angeles County.

I did a housewarming party in Camarillo where the hosts invited fifty people to show off their new house and pool. My clients set up a bar for me in the kitchen, which worked perfectly fine, as the guests mingled on the patio and around the pool. A taco bar was set up outside provided by Frankie’s Catering of Oxnard,  (805) 512-1919.  Many kids where in attendance, and I made a bunch of Shirley Temples. As far as the adults were concerned – the Mai Tai was the drink of the night. I like making Mai Tais because they are a layered drink. I use white rum, pineapple juice, orange juice, and a splash of grenadine, then top it off with a Myers Rum floater.

Last weekend, I worked a baby shower in Los Alamitos, and that was definitely a first for me. The host invited thirty ladies for the shower and they served sandwiches, salads, and Champagne. When the host originally hired me we came up with a drink menu, but at the last minute they decided on Champagne only. The host purchased Hibiscus flowers that are soaked in maraschino syrup. I put the flowers with a bit of syrup in the bottom of each champagne flute, and the effect is quite dramatic. It really makes the champagne look classy and it doesn’t affect the taste much. The hibiscus flowers are edible as well. You can purchase the hibiscus flowers in syrup here.

The baby shower was a success and wrapped up around four p.m. and I was on my way home from OrangeCounty when I received a text from another staffing company that I help out from time to time. They wanted to know if I could help them out with a wedding party in Pasadena at six p.m. I told them yes, thinking it would be another great bartending shift. Well, I was quite wrong about that. When I got there on time I was told that I would be doing “scullery” and the captain of the party led me straight to the dish rack where dirty dishes were already piling up.

I though about bailing out right then, but I didn’t because it was plain to see they were up the creek without a paddle. For the next several hours I probably washed 600 dishes. I certainly gave me an appreciation of what dishwashers do. I wasn’t too happy that I had been tricked into dish washing, but I survived. That staffing company does owe me one though. I won’t be so easily tricked the next time.  

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I am currently working on getting a couple of big weddings in October, but so far the schedule for September is pretty open. I usually get a couple of last minute calls and am glad to take them. I do also have a couple of great female bartenders and servers available. Shaken Not Stirred services the entire Southern California area, including, Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, Riverside, and San BernardinoCounties.