Tag Archives: cocktail

Shaken Not Stirred Cocktails

22 Feb
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Salty Dog

Last weekend Shaken Not Stirred was quiet for the first time in a long time. I wasn’t happy about it, but it gave me time to refocus my efforts and do some house cleaning. On Sunday, I was feeling a little down because I had no jobs for the weekend, and one of my former clients called me and booked two parties in the Spring. Things will get busy soon enough, and starting this weekend, I have two weddings to bartend in the Palm Springs area. I have a new Palm Springs Yelp page which I have no reviews on, so hopefully I can get some reviews on there after this weekend.

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Cucumber Margaritas

People are always asking me for cocktail ideas for their parties. I have compiled a list of drinks that I often do at parties. I can do many other drinks, but I think this is good start. Most of these are fairly simple drinks that can be quickly made for large crowds. I hate the term “mixologist,” – I think it is pretentious.  Although I can do craft cocktails, this isn’t brain surgery. My secret to making good drinks is making them strong. I am from the dive bar school of bartenders. The other thing I have learned is that most drinks have one part citrus, and one part sweetening agent, with two parts alcohol. The good thing about Southern California is that we have an abundance of fresh citrus, that makes for excellent cocktails. I try to use fresh ingredients whenever I can and it make s a big difference.  Here are a list of cocktails categorized by their base liquor.

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Jalapeno Margarita

Vodka

Dirty Martini – vodka or gin, dry vermouth, olive juice, olive garnish

Pom Cosmo – vodka, Pom juice, fresh lime juice, lime garnish

Black Opal Martini – vodka, Black Sambuca

Bay Breeze – vodka, cranberry juice, pineapple juice, lime garnish

Sea Breeze – vodka, cranberry juice, grapefruit juice, lime garnish

Salty Dog – vodka, fresh grapefruit juice, salt rim, lime garnish

Moscow Mule – vodka, ginger beer, lime juice, lime garnish

Appletini – vodka, apple pucker, cherry garnish

Long Island Ice Tea – vodka, tequila, rum, gin, triple sec, sweet and sour, Coke, lemon wedge

Boccacio – vodka, coconut water, splash of orange juice, orange slice (my creation)

White Russian – vodka, Kahlua, milk

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Cosmo

Tequila

Paloma – tequila, fresh grapefruit juice, lime garnish

Mexican Mule – tequila, ginger beer, lime juice, lime garnish

Cadillac Margarita – tequila, margarita mix, Gran Marnier, salt rim, lime garnish

Cucumber Margarita – tequila, cucumber syrup, lime juice, cucumber garnish

Jalapeno Margarita – tequila, blended jalapenos and margarita mix, lime garnish

Tequila Sunrise – tequila, orange juice, grenadine, lime garnish

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Supplies

Rum

Mojito – white rum, simple syrup, muddled mint, lime juice, club soda, lime garnish

Mai Tai – white rum, orange juice, pineapple juice, grenadine, Myer’s rum, lime garnish

Pina Collada – white rum, pina mix, pineapple juice, pineapple garnish

Caipirinha – rum, brown sugar, lime juice, lime garnish

Cuba Libre – rum, Coke, lime garnish

Bourbon

Manhattan – bourbon, sweet vermouth, bitters, cherry garnish

Old Fashioned – bourbon, bitters, muddled cherry and orange slice, sugar cube, soda

Kentucky Mule – bourbon, ginger beer, lime juice, lime garnish

Mint Julep – bourbon, mint leaves, water, simple syrup

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Drinks waiting to go out

Gin

Vesper Martini – gin, vodka, Lillet Blanc, lemon twist garnish

Classic Martini – gin, dry vermouth, olive garnish (can substitute vodka)

Tom Collins – gin, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup, soda

Fleur Di Paradis – gin, St. Germaine, simple syrup, champagne

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Screwdriver

Of course, there are hundreds, if not thousands of combinations and cocktails, and many different liqueurs that I haven’t mentioned here. I tried to stick to the basics. Let me know what cocktail ideas you have and I will try to accommodate you. I have not yet booked the Fourth of July, so if you are planning a party on that day, call me and book it today at (310) 280-6103.

Downtown Los Angeles Office Party

14 Nov
LA's tallest building

LA’s tallest building

Bartending downtown

Bartending downtown

Guests mingle in downtown Los Angeles

Guests mingle in downtown Los Angeles

View of downtown from office window

View of downtown from office window

Last night I bartended an office party in downtown Los Angeles for a top PR firm in the city. They were celebrating the opening of their new office on the tenth floor at a high rise downtown. Approximately 100 guests, including employees and clients attended the party and no expense was spared. They had an event photographer, sushi chefs, a DJ, and I brought my portable bar. Another bartender was also hired and I worked with him. We got along great and I will probably need his help again.

The office itself was very cool, and had an excellent view of the downtown area. There was a pool table in the center of the office and the employees were working on their pool shooting skills. It seems that the whole office is populated with women and there is only one male working there. He told me that he has a lot of fun working there. Everyone seemed so nice there, including the owner of the company.

We served Apothic Red wine, Sauvignon Blanc, Firestone IPA, and Stella, along with a signature drink – the Greyhound. Also known as a Salty Dog, the cocktail has vodka, grapefruit juice, and a salt rim. We went through almost three handles of vodka, so the drink was apparently popular. It was a quick three hour office party and I’m sure there will be many of these as the holiday season progresses. Tomorrow night I have a Quincinera in Cerritos scheduled.

I received an email last night with an inquiry for a December wedding. In Southern California, wedding season seems to last throughout the year, though most weddings are in the summer. I hope I get to bartend the December wedding, along with the many corporate events, office parties, and holiday parties that will take place in December. I also have birthday parties booked. I hope to do some repeat Christmas parties from last year. Some people have contacted me, but don’t have dates locked down yet.  If you want to hire Shaken Not Stirred in December, it is best to book your date now.

Upland New Year’s Eve Party

2 Jan

Tuesday night I had the pleasure of ringing out 2013 and ringing in 2014 bartending at a private residence in Upland. It was a very nice party with about 40 guests in attendance, many wearing black tie and evening gowns. The host had probably the best home bar I have ever seen. The bar itself was brought from England, and he had it fully stocked to cover nearly all bases.

Right before the big toast to 2014

Right before the big toast to 2014

Upland, California

Upland, California

Very nice home bar

Very nice home bar

The specialty cocktail menu we had for the party included Manhattans, Cosmopolitans, Midori Sours, and a champagne cocktail that was made with Cointreau,  brandy, and champagne. I was able to handle almost all requests, and made Long Island Ice Teas, Mai Tais, White Russians, Margaritas, Dirty Martinis, and others. The only thing I wasn’t able to make was a Campari and soda (no Campari).

There were several girls helping out, passing out appetizers and cleaning up, etc. They made my life easier and kept me in clean glassware. Entertainment was provided by classical guitarist, David Adele – he was very good and did one number that was from the soundtrack of “The Deer Hunter,” that was just fantastic. As the clock neared 12:00, we poured champagne for everybody to toast the New Year. The party was a great success.

So, Shaken Not Stirred is entering its second year in business. I would like to thank all of my past clients for their business, and hope I will see all of them again. I have not had one bad experience since I started working on my own. Every person I have worked for has been fantastic, and so have their guests. I am looking forward serving many new people in 2014 all over Southern California. Shaken Not Stirred covers the whole area, from Palm Springs to Santa Barbara, from Santa Clarita to Rancho Santa Fe, and everywhere in between.         

Santa Barbara Christmas Party

22 Dec

Santa Barbara, in my opinion is the crown jewel of Southern California. The area is so incredibly beautiful and the weather is so mild year round that there should be a gazillion people living there, but it still has a quaint small town feeling, and especially at Christmas. I had a Christmas party to bartend at in the hills of Santa Barbara last night, but I got to town early and just hung out. All I can say is that if you want to get into the Christmas spirit in Southern California, just visit downtown Santa Barbara around this time of the year and you will know what I’m talking about.

The Christmas party I worked was at a very nice home with an incredible view of the ocean and the lights of downtown Santa Barbara. The home had a very nice wet bar in the back yard, and it was decorated nicely for the occasion. We used all real glassware and the host had some very nice wine glasses. I rented and brought at the host’s request martini glasses, water goblets, and cider mugs.

We overdid it with the glass rentals, as I suspected we would, because I brought cider mugs for every person at the party, and only a few drank cider. The same thing with martini glasses, though we used more of them. It’s a hard call, because you want to have enough, but chances are, not everybody is going to drink everything. It was nice to be using real martini glasses for sure, and more people ordered martinis as a result. I can get glass rentals for around $1.00 to $1.50 a glass, depending on the glass.

I worked out a drink menu with the host and we decided on a red and green theme for Christmas. The Cosmopolitan represented the red, and we had red sugar for a sugar rim. An apple martini represented the green and we had green sugar for the sugar rim with a cherry garnish.

I recommended a third drink for something different and that was the Manhattan. The Manhattan is a classic cocktail, and when I was working in the restaurant, mostly old people would order it. It is bourbon, with sweet vermouth, a dash of bitters and a cherry. I told the host that maybe some of the younger people would want to try it. That was the case and I think I converted some new followers. It is a very strong drink however, and is an acquired taste. It’s definitely not for everyone. One of the guests at the party went on and on about how I made the best Manhattans that he had ever had, and he had several – fortunately he had a designated driver.

I have a New Year’s Eve party booked in Upland, and that will round out the holiday season for Shaken Not Stirred. I am still available next Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. January is usually a slow month for parties, but you never know.

December Sunset in Santa Barbara

December Sunset in Santa Barbara

That's me manning the fort

That’s me manning the fort

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What it looks like behind the bar

 

Last Minute Party in Newport Beach and Palm Springs Wedding

6 Oct

I was a home on Sunday afternoon, contemplating going to the beach when the phone rang. Someone was a having a party and the bartender didn’t show up – no show, no call. “How fast can you get to Newport beach?”  the guy wanted a to know. “About an hour,” I said. So I put on my bartending clothes, grabbed my gear and drove to Orange County from the San Fernando Valley.

When I arrived the party was in full swing. It was a child’s birthday party but there were probably sixty adults there and were bartending for themselves.  Chaos at the bar! I hate to be thrown into the fire, so to speak, but I got behind the bar and everything settled down quickly.  I served margaritas, lots of wine and even a mojito or two.  In the end I was glad I came and I was planning to go to the beach, and I did get there. I can’t always do last minute gigs, but you might as well call, because I might be able to.

Yesterday I did a wedding in Palm Springs at the Henry Mancini Estate. This was something that was booked months ago and involved much planning. I brought three girls with me – one barback and two servers. It was a little stressful because one of the girls I had scheduled cancelled and I had to scramble to find somebody else hours before the event. I found someone locally in Palm Springs and she showed up and did a great job.

There were a little over 100 people in attendance and we had two bars set up – one for a cocktail hour by the pool, and one next to the dining/reception area. It all went pretty smoothly and I think a great success. The only problem was that the ice didn’t arrive until ten minutes before we were supposed to start serving. It took awhile for the beer to get cold, but much worse things could have happened. The favorite drink of the night: “ The Groomsman” – Crown Royal and Coke.

I’m looking forward to the holiday season. I have many events booked but still have many dates open in December. Shaken Not Served serves the entire Southern California region.

Cocktail Hour by the pool

Cocktail Hour by the pool

My crew with "El Padrino"

My crew with “El Padrino”

The bartender and "El Padrino"

The “Bar Manager” and “El Padrino”

Santa Barbara Wedding

7 Jul

Saturday, July 6th was the date of a wedding at the Museum of Natural History in Santa Barbara. It was my first event in Santa Barbara and was a smashing success. I worked closely with the bride in the weeks preceding the event – planning the drink menu and shopping list. I guess we did a good job because we ran out of beer one half hour before last call and almost everything else fifteen minutes before the witching hour.

It was a Mexican themed wedding and we served Margaritas, Tequilla Sunrises, and a cocktail that the bride requested: La Paloma (tequila, Squirt, and fresh lime juice). We had nearly every brand of Mexican beer on hand including, Corona, Dos Equis, Sol, Tecate, and Pacifico. They had Mariachis, and a taco cart, a DJ, and a photo booth. Vasquez Entertainment (805) 889-2527, provided the DJ.

The bride requested that I bring a Spanish speaking bar back. I hired a girl I had never worked with before, Vanessa, and she was great! We got hit just after the ceremony ended and thirsty people flooded the bar. Vanessa kept me stocked with ice and must have opened 100 beers. I will certainly use her again when I can.

The Museum of Natural History

Blue Whale Skeleton

Blue Whale Skeleton

Vanessa in the spotlight

Vanessa in the spotlight

Mixing Mexican style

Mixing Mexican style

at Santa Barbara was a unique venue for a wedding. The Museum itself looks very interesting, though I didn’t have time to go through it. The wedding ceremony to place in a wonderful and tranquil park behind the museum. The reception was held in a large event room that is attached to the museum. We set up the bar outside on the entrance patio. I am a certified bartender, which the venue requires.

Shaken Not Stirred provides bartenders and servers all over Southern California including Santa Barbara, Los Angeles County, Ventura County, Orange County, the Inland Empire, and Palm Springs. Call today to plan your event.

Summer Party Season In SoCal is Heating Up

6 Jun

Party season is off in running in Southern California. I have many dates booked already and am getting calls every day. It never fails, every week somebody calls last minute needing a bartender because the one they hired flaked on them, showed up drunk, or worse. Sometimes I can accommodate last minute requests. If I can do a gig – I do it. If I am already booked or for some other reason can’t make it, I will send one of my other qualified bartenders, or at the very least refer you to another company I know. I pride myself in showing up on time and being dependable.  Book you gig today, so you don’t have to stress about it later.

Here are some of the Comments from past clients:

“My wife and I have thrown parties a number of times for 25 to 35 friends and relatives. The only problem with a group this size is that as a host you end up spending all your time waiting on everyone; you get little time to socialize and party with the guests. I wanted to avoid this when I was planning my wifes 50th birthday bash. Found Rob, and he and Katie accomplished exactly what we needed them to do – keep our guests served in order to free us up to mingle and enjoy the party. All my guests commented on what a good job they did, what nice people they were, and how well they seamlessly blended into our group. I definitely will hire them again the next time we throw a party this size (which we no doubt will do). Well done Rob!”

M.M. – Sylmar, CA

“Thanks for working our wedding!:)”

C.B. _ Monterey, CA

“Rob you did a awesome job at our wedding this past Saturday in Diamond Bar. Everyone was happy. I want to throw another party just to have you bartender again.”

N. R. – Los Angeles, CA

“We may have been a bit low on non-alcoholic options but everyone had a great time! You and Kristine provided great service, friendly and efficient, and always greeted our guests with a smile no matter how hot or crowded it got! Thanks for everything! I will see you at the next party I do!”

E. N. – Glendale, CA

Manning the birthday bar

Manning the birthday bar

Sherwood Forest 50th Birthday Party Mixologist

2 Jun

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Katie doing her thing

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Mixologist Rob mixing a concoction

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Got Patron?

June 2, was date of a 50th birthday party in the exclusive San Fernando Valley hamlet of Sherwood Forest (formerly, Northridge). My clients went all out and decorated the backyard pool area to create a memorable event for the birthday girl. I brought a server, Katie (who has worked with me several times)  to help with the food, while I manned the bar.

Our client rented a bar, tables and chairs from a party rental company. It’s always nice to have a real bar as opposed to a table set up, and makes me think I need to get one, but then I would need a truck to haul it in. In reality a table works fine and in the end the guests don’t really care where their excellent drinks come from.

I’ve never called myself a “mixologist”,  I’m old school and that word seems a little pretentious, but I was the hired mixologist of the night. I’ll take it. The host came up with an excellent drink menu. I served Margaritas, Cadillac Margaritas, Bay Breezes, Cosmos, and a couple of specialty drinks that were favorites of my clients. The most popular cocktail of the night was the Island Breeze: Malibu rum, Blue Curacao, and pineapple juice, garnished with pineapple and a cherry. Shock Top and Corona Light were the beers of the night. Arnold Palmers were the non-alcoholic drink of choice.

The guests dined on Mexican food from a local restaurant and deserts made by the host. Overall, the party seemed to be a smashing success. The forecast called for triple digit weather, but as the sun went down the weather was perfect for backyard partying. Plan your summer party today and let us help you. Shaken Not Stirred serves the San Fernando Valley, the LA Basin, and pretty much the whole Southern California area. We’ll go anywhere in the world if the price is right! Now that I’m a mixologist, I’m sure I can get gigs in Europe, South America, the Far East, and Down Under.

Seriously, Shaken Not Stirred is serious about summer birthday parties, weddings, pool parties, class reunions, openings, and all other events. Several dates in July are already booked, but I have many skilled bartenders available. Call or email for rates and availability. I had two last minute calls yesterday and couldn’t fill them on such short notice, but don’t hesitate to call, because sometimes I can.

Boy’s Town Fundraiser in San Juan Capistrano

1 Oct

Father Flannigan started Boy’s Town in 1917 in Omaha, Nebraska to help boys in trouble. Since then, the Organization has thrived and has helped thousands of adolescents and families all over America. Last Saturday night I worked a fundraiser in San Juan Capistrano for the Orange County Boy’s Town facility located in Trabuco Canyon. The event was attended by seventy people including representatives from Boy’s Town, Orange County, and even boys whose lives were transformed by the organization. Though I was working the event – I heard the message – Boy’s Town seems to be a very worthy cause and organization.

The Event was hosted at a private home on the beautiful Marbella Country Club. I contracted two servers, Meggan and Mia to help me and was very pleased with both of them. They showed up on time, which to me is fifty percent of the gig, and they knew what to do. I did not have to supervise them. We poured Chardonay,  Pinot Noir, Zinfindel, and Cabernet, with the various courses of food we served.

Food included bruchetta and rolled salami and cheese, followed by Chicken Marsella with pasta, and eggplant parmesan. Guests mingled in the spacious back patio and ate standing at high cocktail tables. It seemed to work out very well, and we kept refilling their wine. Each guest was provided with one wine glass in the beginning and used that same glass to taste each of the various wines. Nobody complained, and overall it was a very good group. A live piano player provided the ambiance. I was impressed that the host seemed to have guessed the correct amount of wine to buy, because when we were done we were down to two bottles.

Shaken Not Stirred also serves Los Angeles, Ventura, and parts of Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. We will even go to San Diego. Shaken Not Stirred provides bartenders and servers for all kinds of events including fundraisers, corporate events, birthday parties, engagements parties, barbecues, weddings, anniversaries, wakes, bachelor parties, graduations, and the list goes on and on. Please call today to plan your party. We can help you with a drink menu and shopping list.   Our prices are affordable and our staff is professional and dependable.

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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.