Tag Archives: cocktail party

Reptacular Ranch Wedding and 50th Birthday Cocktail Party

19 Jun
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Tequila shots at cocktail party

Shaken Not Stirred provided bar service for two big events last week – a 50th birthday cocktail party, and a wedding at the Reptacular Ranch.  On Friday I went to the Carthay Circle neighborhood of Los Angeles, which is south of Hollywood and bartended for a two hour cocktail party to celebrate the host’s 50th birthday. Then, on Saturday, I drove up into the mountains above Sylmar to the Reptacular Ranch to bartend a wedding (my second time at the venue).

I always like doing intimate cocktail parties and the hosts and guests usually like having me. The hosts like having a bartender because they can enjoy themselves and not have to make the drinks. The guests like it because they can get a variety of professionally made drinks. For this party I set up my portable bar in the kitchen and served drinks to five couple before they departed for a nice dinner in West Hollywood.

 

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Salud!

I served Moscow Mules, Margaritas, and Lemon Drops made with fresh lemons from my backyard lemon tree. Unfortunately, I think I used the last of the good lemons from the tree, and most that are left are over ripe. I created a new Elderberry Lemon drop using a dash of St. Germain, agave nectar, and fresh lemon juice, with a sugar rim. The guests had a couple of cocktails and left for dinner. Everyone was happy.

Reptacular Ranch Weddings

  • Petting zoo with exotic animals
  • Rustic secluded location
  • Bar with refrigerators
  • “Honey Wagon” style restrooms
  • Beautiful area for ceremony

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    Reptacular Ranch Ceremony

Saturday was my second time working at the Reptacular Ranch. The first time was back in August and it was literally 110 degrees up there. All the ice melted within 2 hours, and I had to drive down to Sylmar and pick up more. They have since made improvements and have refrigerators and a ice cooler near their newly renovated bar area. They also have a very nice new area with seating for ceremonies. For this wedding, the groom works for an ice company, and the weather was unseasonably cool, so we did not have to worry about ice.

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Bar area at Reptacular Ranch

This coming week I have a cocktail party in Los Angeles on Friday night, a Summer Solstice party in Studio City on Saturday night, and then a birthday party in Beverly Hills, and a graduation party in Seal Beach on Sunday. That’s is the kind of week I like. Please follow us on Instagram.  

 

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!

Private Bartender at La Canada Christmas Party

22 Dec
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Private bartender selfie

 

Last night, for the third year in a row I served as the private bartender for a company Christmas party at a very nice home in La Canada. The host is a very successful real estate agent in the area and has a fantastic home for entertaining. He has a very nice little bar inside the house, and he has a great one outside as well, where we hold parties in the summer.

About 90 guests were in attendance and I served drinks that had real estate terms for names like the “Pocket Listing,” “Multiple Offers,” and “Just Sold.” I made my spicy jalapeno margarita mix and that was a hit as it usually is. I also served a lot of Johnny Walker Black, and made a holiday cranberry Old Fashioned. As a private bartender I have manned the bar at over 400 events, so by now I am comfortable behind any bar.

I can make a variety of cocktails with a few simple mixers. It is always good to have cranberry juice, pineapple juice, lime juice, Coke, Diet Coke, Seven Up, and bitters. For garnishes it is good to have limes, lemons, cherries, and olives. Mint, oranges, cranberries, cucumbers, and other garnishes are usually for specialty drinks. As a private bartender, I consult with hosts about the drink menu and shopping list. I can do all the shopping also, but charge an extra fee for that.

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La Canada on a cloudy day

Advantages of Hiring a Private Bartender

  • The hosts can enjoy themselves at the party
  • Bartender makes consistently good drinks
  • Guests are impressed
  • Bartender can monitor guests intoxication level
  • Host saves money on shopping list

Unless I book something else next week, this was my last holiday party of the season until New Year’s Eve. I am booked for NYE at a warehouse party in Downtown LA that should be interesting. On New Year’s Day I will return to Manhattan Beach to provide bartending service for a pre Rose Bowl/birthday party. I think 2017 is going to be a record year for Shaken Not Stirred, and look forward to serving many of my repeat customers and gaining a bunch of new ones.

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Shots!

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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.

Beaumont Cocktail Party

6 Sep
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Goodfellas standing by in Beaumont with their brand new taco cart

Thursday Shaken Not Stirred was called out to Beaumont in Riverside County to provide bartending service for a mid-week cocktail party. I was hired through a catering company I have seen at many events, Goodfella’s Tacos, and I hope to return the favor and get them some business, though they are very busy already, and provide great service. The party was held out a new subdivision south of the 10 freeway called the Four Seasons, and it is a very nice development.

The host told me that the party was actually a celebration of her wedding anniversary. Her husband had unexpectedly died less than a year ago, just shortly after they moved into the new Beaumont house. She said that she wanted to have a party rather than sitting around feeling sad on that day. She believed that is what her husband would have wanted, and I’m sure she is right. At least 60 of her friends showed up, and anytime you are able to get 60 people to come out on a weeknight in Southern California, means that you have done something right.

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Cocktail party in Beaumont warming up

Cocktail Party Ideas

  • Hire a bartender
  • Choose a theme
  • Create specialty cocktails
  • Hire a caterer
  • Choose entertainment

I served blended Margaritas, and Margaritas on the rocks. I also served some Daiquiris and a lot of beers. It was an older crowd of mostly retirees and I felt that we had way too many supplies for this cocktail party, but we went through plenty. The host hired a Mariachi band to perform and that was fun for everybody. The Goodfellas served their great tacos, and there was another dessert person that provided the sweets. The host and several of her friends wrapped up the party playing a dice game.

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Mariachis perform at Beaumont cocktail party

That was the first event of a busy traveling weekend for Shaken Not Stirred. On Saturday I had to drive to New Cuyama in Santa Barbara County for a wedding, and then turn right around and drive to Acton for a Labor Day party. Needless to say, I was quite tired on Monday – actual Labor Day, and was kind of glad I didn’t have an event that day.  

 

Beverly Hills 10th Anniversary Party

1 Aug
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Bar prep at Beverly Hills 10th Anniversary party

Saturday I was honored to bartend for a 10th Anniversary party for some of my best clients. I have provided bartending services for this couple at least a dozen times at business related cocktail parties, film premiers, and wrap parties. This was the first personal type party that they hired me for and it was their biggest party to date.

Over 100 guests, including children drifted in and out during the four hour event. I served a lot of drinks very quickly. We had two specialty drinks including a Blackberry Mint Moscow Mule, and a Watermelon Cucumber Vodka cooler. I am able to make these labor intensive drinks for large groups of people because I make batches of several drinks at a time. I served out of the Moscow Mule toward the end of the party and was almost out of the Watermelon drink at the end.

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Blackberry Mint Moscow Mule

They have a pool in the backyard and hired a lifeguard to watch the kids, which is a great idea. I did another party recently where there were many kids swimming and no lifeguard. It only takes a few minutes for a tragedy to happen. Especially at a large party where alcohol is being served.

10th Anniversary Party Ideas

  • Hire a bartender
  • Invite friends and extended family
  • Hire performers
  • Renewal of vows

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    Guests mingle at Beverly Hills Anniversary party

Ella Freyinger provided the catering and she did a fantastic job, as always. I have worked with her before. This time they had barbecue chicken, tri tip, hotdogs and hamburgers for the kids, and a whole variety of summer side dishes, appetizers, and desserts. There was plenty of food and friends and family attended the 10th anniversary party from around the country.

I have a wedding coming up next weekend in Lancaster, but that is the only thing I have scheduled for this week. I was thinking that it is kind of slow, and I checked my schedule for last year around this time. Actually it was even slower for Shaken Not Stirred last year. It will pick up soon enough because before you know it the holiday season will be here. I have already booked some parties in October, November, and December, and have had inquiries for New Year’s Eve. and January. It is never too early to book your holiday parties. I am starting with a new booking service, and they say they will book me more work than I know what to do with six months in advance. I may have to hire some more bartenders.

Diamond Bar Center Wedding III

20 Jul
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A bride’s final moments as a single woman

On Sunday, Shaken Not Stirred returned to the Diamond Bar Center for the third time to provide bartending services for a wedding reception. I believe the bride found me through this blog when I wrote about a previous wedding I had done at the venue. They have a very efficient system setup there for the vendors, and I have the system down.

I had done a big wedding in Solvang the night before, so I was tired after the long drive and everything, but this is wedding season in Southern California. I always like doing Sunday weddings. I had planned the bar service with the bride for several months, and made a shopping list for her. Everything was there when I arrived.

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Bride and groom at the Diamond Bar Center

They have two very nice portable bars at the Diamond Bar Center, and they are easy to setup, and move them if you have to. The plan for this wedding was to have a cocktail hour in the reception area just after the wedding ceremony, and then move the bar into the dining room while the guests were eating dinner. I was able to do that no problem and it took me less than fifteen minutes, thanks to the bar on wheels.

Diamond Bar Center Weddings

  • Nice hilltop location with scenic views
  • Large dining room can seat up to 300 guests
  • Reception area and back patio
  • Great yard for ceremonies
  • Portable bars

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    Shots!

Approximately 80 guests were in attendance and I served out of vodka fifteen minutes before the party ended. I made simple drinks and served wine and beer. Chris Christopher provided DJ services, and Belladonna Catering did the food. Another great Diamond Bar Center wedding completed.

This coming weekend I will be traveling across the San Fernando Valley to Woodland Hills to bartend a birthday party for a client I did a wedding for previously. It is always nice to get repeat business. Later this month I will be bartending an anniversary party in Beverly Hills for a couple that I have done many business cocktail parties.

San Diego Client Appreciation Party

11 Jul
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San Diego Sunset

On Saturday, I traveled to San Diego to provide bartending services for a client appreciation party. The company was celebrating their anniversary and the creation of a new construction division, and they invited 75 guests for cocktails, burgers, and music. The hosts could not have been nicer, and it was a fun night for all involved.

I made margaritas and poured a lot of Jack Daniels. It was an open house type of party where people drifted in and out. I can handle a lot of guests by myself when they all don’t come at once. I kept pretty busy throughout the night. The hosts seemed to be pretty happy with my service and the owner said this was the first time he had hired a bartender. He also said he would bring me back next year. BuzieBurger of San Diego provided the catering – he is just getting started doing events and did a great job.

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Client Appreciation Party in San Diego

Client Appreciation Party Ideas

  • Hire a bartender
  • Invite clients and vendors
  • Invite key employees
  • Hire a caterer
  • Provide entertainment

I have done many corporate events and client appreciation parties. Law firms, PR firms, and production companies often host client appreciation parties and mixers. It is good for business and the morale of employees. It helps to promote brand loyalty. In December there will be many such parties, and I am already booking dates in December. It will come fast.

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Shots!

I was just thinking that maybe Shaken Not Stirred should have a client appreciation party. That would be a hoot. What a diverse group of people that would be. Over the past three years I have bartended over 300 parties, and have served drinks to people from all walks of life all over Southern California. I will have to think about hosting some kind of party and where I might be able to have it.  

Mission Beach Women’s Club Wedding

20 Jun
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Sign created by the bride

Saturday, Shaken Not Stirred traveled to San Diego to provide bartending services at a wedding at the Mission Beach Women’s Club. This was my first time working at this venue, and I hope to return there many more times. What a fantastic spot to have a wedding and reception. The scenery is great, the vibe is happening, and I just had an overall nice experience.

The hardest part of working this venue was getting in and out of there. Summer is here and it’s starting to get hot. Everyone in Southern California heads to the beach. The bars and restaurants are full of people, parking is hard to find and traffic is a nightmare. I arrived plenty early and the hosts even saved me my own parking spot at the venue. I had plenty of time to set up my portable bar, outside on the patio next to the bike path.

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Dad escorts bride at Mission Beach Women’s Club

Mission Beach Women’s Club Venue

  • Views of the Mission Bay
  • Cooler weather
  • Relaxed atmosphere
  • Patio reception area
  • Indoor dining room and dance floor

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    Wedding with scenic backdrop

The wedding was held on the grass just across from the venue with Mission Bay in the background. This makes for some great photography. They set up chairs and a wedding arch, everyone sat down and the ceremony was over in less than half an hour. The chairs and wedding arch rapidly disappeared and the party started.

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Shots!

I made simple drinks like Captain and Coke, Jack and Coke, Sea Breezes, and Moscow Mules. Fireball shots were popular. I was worried we were going to run out of a few things, and we did, but the guests adjusted. Bekker’s Catering of San Diego provided the food, and they did an excellent job.

I will be bartending a cocktail party in Beverly Hills on Thursday, and then doing a wedding in Hemet, which I booked over a year ago. The big Fourth of July weekend is coming up and I will be busy in Palm Springs and Orange County.

Post Xmas Cocktail Party in Fontana

28 Dec
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Portable bar and table in Fontana

Saturday afternoon, I was sitting home with no bartending jobs scheduled until New Year’s Eve, when I got a call to bartend a cocktail party in Fontana, two days after Christmas. I live in the San Fernando Valley and Fontana (Inland Empire) is about 60 miles away, so I had to jump into action to get to the party on time. I was glad to get the job, because even though I have been very busy this holiday season, January is not looking so hot so far.

I made a quick shopping list for the host and emailed it to her. Most of the events I do involve way more planning than this, but last minute parties can still be successful. We didn’t really have time to plan any elaborate specialty drinks, but I have done enough parties to know what supplies are needed for a specific number of guests. I can guess pretty accurately how much ice, how many cups, how many bottles of wine, etc. will be needed. I have said many times, do not hesitate to call me last minute if you need a bartender.

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Hosts and guests enjoy Fontana cocktail party

I arrived in Fontana on time and set up my portable bar and table in the corner of the kitchen. The portable bar is three feet wide and the table is four feet long, so I roughly need a fifteen feet square foot area for my portable bar. I usually only charge $25 for the portable bar, because it is nothing fancy, but it serves its purpose, and I have used it on rooftops in Beverly Hills, and near the docks in Wilmington.

Cocktail Party Occasions

  • House Warming
    Celebrate a promotion
    Grand Openings
    Going away parties
    Client appreciation

The Fontana cocktail party was slow to get going, but had a big finish. Guests trickled in – after all it was the Saturday after Christmas, and most people in Southern California have at that point been going to various functions all month. The host had a beautiful grand player piano that certainly added a bit of class to the party, rather than the usual Pandora selections. It was if we had a concert pianist on hand for the party. I served wine, a few margaritas, and some vodka drinks. I think everybody had a great time, and it was a successful last minute cocktail party.

My next party scheduled for Shaken Not Stirred is on New Year’s Eve in Sherman Oaks, very close to home. I will be doing several prohibition era cocktails for that party. Last year I bartended a New Year’s Day party, which I got last minute, so maybe I will get another this year. January is pretty open, so please call me if you are planning a birthday party, wedding, or any kind of event in January.