Tag Archives: Coachella Valley

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!

 

Palm Springs Pool Party Season Kicks Off in March

13 Mar
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Palm Springs Pool Party toys

The Palm Springs pool party season has officially kicked off after a rainy winter here in Southern California. Palm Springs looks greener as I have ever seen it and beautiful wild flowers are popping up all over the desert – you had better enjoy them now, because they won’t be around long, as temperatures are already heading into the nineties with winter not even officially over. Last weekend I rolled into the Palm Springs to bartend my first pool party of the season.

Palm Springs is the favorite spot for people from LA to party. There are rental houses all over the Coachella Valley that have pools, that can sleep multiple people and are perfect for partying. Often several people go in on a house together and it is less expensive than staying in a hotel, and much better. For this party, which was a birthday party, the hosts owned their Palm Springs party pad as a second home.

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Guests mingle at Palm Springs Pool Party

I didn’t really consult with the hosts before the party about their shopping list, etc., so I just showed up and did my thing. They had a well stocked bar, so I was able to make a variety of different drinks, from Manhattans, Mai Tais, I brought my spicy jalapeno margarita mix. It is warm enough now to run around in swimming suits after dark in Palm Springs. I’m sure I will be doing many more pool parties out there this year, and bachelorette parties. Palm Springs is the favorite spot for bachelorette parties for women all over Southern California.

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“Deadly”

Palm Springs Pool Party Must Haves

  • Large and crazy pool toys
  • Professional bartender
  • Great food and drink
  • Plenty of sunblock
  • Great friends

The host told me that she and her husband had just recently started hiring bartenders and now they would never have a party without one. She said the party is so much more enjoyable for them, as they don’t have to worry about making drinks for guests. Many people have told me that, and it only makes sense. Guests can spill as much alcohol making their own drinks than what I charge. This week I am doing a cocktail party in San Diego mid week, and then will be bartending another birthday party in Walnut on Saturday. Later this month I will provide bartending service at functions in Glendora, Oak Park, Indian Wells, and Dana Point. If you have not followed Shaken Not Stirred on Facebook, please do.

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Shots!

La Quinta Cocktail Party

11 Oct
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La Quinta Rental home across from Desert Trip

Sunday I got a last minute call to bartend a cocktail party in La Quinta. The call came at 10 am and they wanted me there by 1pm – La Quinta is 150 miles from my house. I told him I could be there by two. I put on my mobile bartender suit, loaded my cooler and bar kit and drove out there. Desert Trip, the three day music festival was going on just across the road from where I was bartending and 90,000 people were in town for that.

My job was simple, set up my portable bar by the pool and serve cocktails for an hour or two, and then serve wine at dinner. There were ten guests in from Maryland to attend the Desert Trip show and I was to serve them drinks before the show. I served Moscow Mules, Mexican Mules, and Kentucky Mules. The people that hired me were somehow connected to the Desert Trip promoters, and the guests I was serving were VIPS, also somehow connected to the promoters.

This was the second time Shaken Not Stirred went out to the Coachella Valley in two weeks. I go out there, when it is worth my while, and I always enjoy the area. The dramatic landscape just makes me feel good for some reason, and it is always nice to get a reprieve from LA. The group I was serving were all very nice and I made them all a couple of drinks a piece. This was a typical intimate cocktail party.

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Tequila shots at La Quinta cocktail party

Cocktail Party Procedure

  • Serve specialty drinks
  • Craft cocktails
  • Use appropriate glassware
  • Serve drinks on a tray

After the guests had a couple of cocktails, they all moved inside for dinner. A private chef was there and she prepared a fantastic four course dinner. She didn’t have a card and said she would email me her info, but has not done so yet. The meal included a rabbit pate appetizer, wild King Salmon filets, roasted chicken, and various fresh roasted vegetables. I served the wine and cleared the plates. I have alot of experience doing this and enjoy doing it for groups like this.

After dinner, the guests quickly left to attend the third night of Desert Trip. The Who and Rodger Waters were playing. I packed up and finished just in time to take in the presidential debate. On Wednesday I will be driving to Orange County to bartend an event for some of my best clients, and then on Saturday, I will be staying close to home and doing a birthday party in Woodland Hills.

40th Birthday Party at Versailles at Indian Wells

4 Oct
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Beautiful Indian Wells landscape

Shaken Not Stirred provided bartending services for a two day 40th birthday party at the fabulous Versailles compound at Indian Wells. The hosts wanted to throw a birthday bash to end all birthday bashes and they wanted to invite 25 of their closest friends for a weekend in the beautiful Coachella Valley. I was there to make the drinks, and I made a bunch of them.

Most of the guests flew in from the San Francisco area, and I guess there are direct flights from San Francisco to Palm Springs on United, American, and Alaska. The host told me that when they were thinking about this party, they wanted to rent a place that was big enough so that all of their friends would have their own room. They would have gone anywhere in the country, but Versailles at Indian wells was one of the few places that could accommodate that. Versailles has 26,000 square feet, 14 bedrooms, and 19 bathrooms.

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Big Chill at Versailles, Indian Wells

The host wanted me to make some craft cocktails for the event. We decided on a spicy Jalapeno/cucumber margarita, a Dalmatian, and cucumber coolers. I made the spicy jalapeno/cucumber margarita mix in advance with all fresh ingredients. I also made a black peppercorn simple syrup for the Dalmatian cocktail, and brought fresh grapefruit juice. The drinks were a hit, and I ran out of the spicy marg mix the first day and had to make another batch the following day.

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Craft Cocktails at Versailles

Versailles Rental Compound Amenities

  • 26,000 square feet, 14 bedrooms, 19 bathrooms
  • Sleeps up to 30 people
  • Large pool, two jacuzzis
  • Tennis court
  • Private 2 acres
  • Detached casitas
  • Game room, media room, formal dining room
  • Inside and outside bars

I think almost anyone would only dream to have a “Big Chill” experience like with 25 of their closest friends at a stunning property like this. I am sure it a was a fantastic 40th birthday party for the host and a memorable experience for his guests. I had a great time bartending for them. I got to know a few of the guests a little bit over the course of the weekend and it was a great experience. The first day they had a taco caterer come in, and then on the second day it was pizza for dinner.

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It’s a Bloody Mary Morning…

This coming weekend is the only weekend in October where I don’t have anything scheduled. I am sure I will pick something up by Saturday. I wouldn’t even mind going back to Palm Springs again. I love going out there this time of the year, and the season is only beginning as the snowbirds start flocking south. .

 

The Pre-Wedding Cocktail Party

10 Apr
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Legacy Villas in La Quinta

On Friday I drove to La Quinta to bartend a pre-wedding cocktail party at Legacy Villas in La Quinta. The forecast called for showers, and the sky was brooding, but so far this season I have gotten lucky every time with my outdoor parties. The cocktail party had 125 guests and I was there to bartend it alone.  I set up my portable bar in the courtyard of the Legacy Villas clubhouse.

Many of these weddings I have done recently have guests coming in from all over the country and they make a weekend of it. They usually have a party on Friday night, and then the wedding on Saturday, with a reception, and then a pool party on Sunday before everyone goes back home on Monday. The Palm Springs area is perfect for this kind of thing, and many of the rental homes available are set up for it.

For this particular pre-wedding cocktail party, I served regular margaritas, and spicy jalapeno margaritas. They way I was able to do that for a party with this many people, was to premake the margaritas in beverage dispensers. That worked pretty well, and then the guests self served their beer, and I served wine, soft drinks and some standard vodka drinks.

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Pre-made margaritas in La Quinta

The line was long and revolving, and by the end I completely served out of wine and beer, and there was very little tequila and vodka left. Everything ran out about fifteen minutes before the party was to end, so I guess it worked out fine. I had made a shopping list for the host, and the budget for all beverages and cups was just over $500.

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Portable bar in courtyard

Pre-Wedding Cocktail Party Ideas

  • Usually the day before the wedding
  • More casual
  • Shorter than the reception
  • Simple drinks
  • Hire a bartender

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    Friends enjoying pre-wedding cocktail party

It was a fast three hours, and I quickly packed up, because on Saturday , Shaken Not Stirred had contracted to provide bartending services to a wedding, also in La Quinta. As I have mentioned many times, I love going out to Coachella Valley to bartend, and I am sure I will return many times.  I do need some reviews on my Palm Springs Yelp page that I just started. Next weekend I have a birthday party booked in Torrance on Friday, and then a Southern themed birthday party in Encino on Saturday.

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Clubhouse courtyard perfect for hosting parties

Three Day Event at LA Mart

6 Apr
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New Skyscraper going up in Downtown LA

Shaken Not Stirred just finished providing bartending service for a three day event at the LA Mart in downtown Los Angeles.  I have done many events for them, and for this event they were offering complimentary Mimosas to the buyers that were at the Mart for their annual Spring designer week. I always like doing these events and it is fun talking to all the people going through there. I have even made some friendships with some of the sellers in the building who have seen during the different events that I have done there.

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People bring their dogs to work at LA Mart

The LA Mart is the largest marketplace of its kind west of the Mississippi. I think they like to serve complimentary drinks as a way to set themselves apart from other markets. Many of the buyers don’t want to start drinking at 9am, but it is a nice touch anyway. Some of the buyers are in ffrom out of town, so they try to have some fun and make a semi vacation out of it.

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Makings for Mimosas

I am ABC certified and have taken the LEADS class put on by the California ABC, and that is required to serve alcohol at the LA Mart. Most venues and corporate clients require that.  I will be taking another class soon to keep that up to date. The state ABC classes are held at various locations around the city once a month.

LA Mart/The Reef

  • Open five days a week
  • 500,000 square feet of showrooms
  • Permanent showrooms
  • Furniture, gift items, premium product lines
  • South of downtown Los Angeles

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    Showroom window at LA Mart

I am now getting ready for a big weekend in the Coachella Valley. I have a wedding party in La Quinta on Friday night, and then another one on Saturday night. I will be serving several exciting drinks to hundreds of people in the desert, including the Sazerac cocktail, which I have never made before.

Diamond Bar Center Wedding II

12 Oct
Balloons in flight above Diamond Bar Center

Balloons in flight above Diamond Bar Center

Yesterday Shaken Not Stirred returned to the Diamond Bar Center for the largest wedding they have done to date. We had three bartenders and three bars to service 350 people. I always allow myself one hour set up time, but I arrived two hours early, because this kind of event requires a lot of preparation. I was very nervous when I first arrived that something was going to go wrong, and that is why arriving early is so important, because it gives you time to fix any potential problems.

The Diamond Bar Center has two portable bars and we used those, plus I set up my portable bar. We had approximately 400 pounds of ice and that seemed to be just enough on a 95 degree day. When we looked at the liquor stock and cups we were panicking that it wouldn’t be enough. Well, it was pretty hard drinking crowd and it ended up being just enough. We ran completely out of everything but wine, one half hour before we were supposed to stop serving.

Setting up three bars at the Diamond Bar Center

Setting up three bars at the Diamond Bar Center

I had me two best girls, Mia and Kelley working with me and they did a stellar job. I was very proud how we all came together and pulled this massive event off. I was thinking when I arrived I don’t want to do any more events this big, but I have since changed my mind about that. It was a great experience.

Shots!

Shots!

This Saturday I will be bartending a wedding party in Culver City and will be taking another bartender and two cocktail servers with me. Then on Sunday, I will stay in the San Fernando Valley and bartend a baptism party in Tarzana. Later this month, I will return to Coachella to bartend a wedding, and then have another wedding to bartend in Northridge on Halloween night. I still have the Friday before Halloween available if anyone wants to do a Halloween party on that night.

Groom and friends at Diamond Bar Center

Groom and friends at Diamond Bar Center