Tag Archives: Christmas parties

Two Christmas Parties in Two Counties

14 Dec
Reindeer arrive for Christmas early in Sierra Madre

Reindeer arrive for Christmas early in Sierra Madre

Shaken Not Stirred bartended two different Christmas parties in two different Southern California counties last weekend. On Saturday, I traveled to the foothills of Sierra Madre to bartend a Christmas party, and then on Sunday, I traveled to Orange county to do a holiday party in Villa Park. The busy holiday season is in full swing in Southern California, and it will be over before you know it.

I had never been to Sierra Madre before last Saturday, and I must say I was very impressed. It sits right up against the San Gabriel Mountains, and I remember seeing many bear sighting on the news over the years in that area. I did see two young bucks in somebody’s front yard on my way to the party, and that is the first time I believe I have ever seen deer in Los Angeles – though I have seen just about every other kind of wildlife. Anyway, there are many nice homes up there and it has a small town feel.

Christmas Parties in Southern California

  • Outdoor grilling
    Swimming
    Patio heaters
    Shorts and sandals (sometimes)
    Lots of Christmas lights

The hosts of the party are in the horse racing industry somehow, and most of the guests were related to that industry. It is interesting to meet all kinds of people from different cross sections and industries around Southern California. The host and I planned a drink menu and unfortunately most of the guests were drinking either vodka drinks and red wine. Before the night was over, I was sweating because we were about to run out of those two things and I felt responsible . Luckily, the host had some backups. It is hard to plan parties because different crowds drink different things. I guess it is always better to have more than not enough.

Guests mingle in Sierra Madre

Guests mingle in Sierra Madre

On Sunday I returned to Villa Park in Orange County, to bartend for a repeat client. They have a very nice backyard bar and pool that is perfect for entertaining. The party was for Dad’s, sons, and daughters, and I believe it was a fundraiser for a school event. It was a very nice Southern California evening, and the kids took full advantage of the pool. Here it is nearly Christmas, and kids are still swimming outdoors. Rain came by the end of the party, but everyone seemed to have a great time. I Heart Momo provided the photo booth, which was very popular with the kids.

Festive bar in Villa Park

Festive bar in Villa Park

I have four Christmas parties this weekend – all in Los Angeles county, and all repeat customers and referrals. It is very nice seeing some the same people again, and I knowing what to do when I get to their homes. I learn the layout of their home bars, back yards, etc, so I know exactly what to do. I always get a bit of anxiety when going to a new home because I don’t know what to expect. The trick is to arrive early. Please follow Shaken Not Stirred on Facebook for updates on upcoming availability in your area and party ideas.

Shaken Not Stirred in Villa Park

Shaken Not Stirred in Villa Park

Pina Collada waiting for drinker

Pina Collada waiting for drinker

Hollywood Holiday Party

10 Dec
Portable bar and table at holiday party

Portable bar and table at holiday party

Last night Shaken Not Stirred was the bartending company of choice for a Hollywood holiday party with over 200 guests. I was the bartender and my daughter Pia, was my barback. We served out of almost everything by the time the night was over. 200 people can drink a lot of alcohol, even on a week night!

The party was put on by a Hollywood production company for friends, employees, and associates. We set up our portable bar and table in the back yard. The weather is still warm enough in southern California to have outdoor parties. A catering company, Sky’s Gourmet Tacos provided the food, and they made some excellent tacos. The food line kept going all night, as did the drink line.

My daughter and barback, Pia

My daughter and barback, Pia

The specialty drink of the night was the Paloma. The Paloma is a classic Mexican favorite and is made different ways. Some people just use Squirt, lime and tequila, others use Fresca and tequila. Last night we made the Paloma with tequila, sparkling grapefruit juice, and fresh lime, with a sugar rim and grapefruit wedge garnish. It was a big hit and we served completely out of it.

I taught my daughter how to make that drink and she made some other simple ones, like gin and tonics, rum and Coke, or Vodka and cranberry. I have taught many people to bartend over the years, and some of them are still making a living at it. I say time and time again, it ain’t brain surgery! It does require some grace under pressure however, that some people just can’t bare.

The Paloma cocktail

The Paloma cocktail

On Saturday I will travel to the city of San Gabriel to bartend another holiday party, and then on Sunday I will do another one for a repeat client, who has a fantastic back yard bar in the city of Villa Park in Orange County. Then next week, I have four back to back Christmas parties, all around the San Fernando Valley. This is going to be a great month for Shaken Not Stirred, but I am a bit worried about next month, as it could slow down after the busy holiday season. I have two events booked so far in January, so I will be anxious to fill that calendar up – knowing that it will invariably be slower. I will take that time to refocus my marketing efforts.

Holiday party guests mingle in Hollywood

Holiday party guests mingle in Hollywood

Simi Valley Holiday / Birthday Party

23 Nov
Classy home bar in Simi

Classy home bar in Simi

Shaken Not Stirred opened the 2014 holiday season last night by bartending a holiday/birthday party in Simi Valley. The house where the party was held was fully decorated and in fact would probably win awards on Candy Cane Lane. The interior was very nicely decorated and they had the classiest home bar I have ever seen. The hostess was a former bartender and she stocked the bar to cover all bases.

I kept busy the entire night and it reminded me of working a busy bar at a hopping restaurant on a Saturday night. I made Cucumber martinis, dirty martinis, Lemon drops, Kamakazi shots, Margaritas, Pear Martinis, Gin Cosmos, and Bay Breezes.  Firestone 805 was the beer of the night and that seems to be quite popular at many parties now.

Viva La Pasta catered the event and they supplied a nice assortment of pasta, salads, bruchetta, and Italian cold cuts. The hosts had cleared the living room out and turned it into a dance floor. They had a fantastic stereo system and people were dancing the entire night, fueled by the ten bottles of vodka I served. Overall, I think fun was had by all.

Fire!

Fire!

How to Hire a Bartender for a Holiday Party

I have a few dates booked in December, but still have many open. Here are a few things to consider if you are planning a holiday party and need a bartender:

  • Don’t wait until the last minute. Book your party now, because every bartender in town will be booked up soon.
  • If you have a party on a Friday or Sunday, it might be less expensive and easier to book a bartender because most of the events are on Saturday.
  • Consult with your bartender about a shopping list and drink menu.
  • Check out sales on alcohol and non alcoholic beverages and start stocking up, so you don’t have to rush around at the last minute.

Next weekend I am traveling to San Diego to bartend an engagement party, and then the following weekend I have events booked in Studio City and Yorba Linda. I’m sure I will book some company Christmas parties on weekdays during December. I will work seven days a week during December if necessary.

 

Dead soldiers

Dead soldiers