Tag Archives: cocktails

Five Cocktails That Are Popular at Private Events Right Now

16 Mar
moscowmule1

Moscow Mule

5. Moscow Mule

The Moscow Mule is very popular right now at private events including weddings, birthday parties, and corporate events. Here is the recipe for the Moscow Mule
;
1.5 oz Vodka
Splash fresh lime juice
2 oz Ginger beer

There are several different brands and types of ginger beer available at Trader Joe’s or Bevmo.
Cock & Bull, Bunderberg, and Gosling are some of the popular brands. You can also make a Kentucky Mule by substituting Bourbon, or a Mexican Mule by substituting Tequila. I usually garnish with a lime slice.

<!–nextpage–>

altadena2

Old Fashioned

4. Old Fashioned

The Old Fashioned is called the Old Fashioned because it is old. As a cocktail, it has been around a long time. It has recently become popular again because of the hit television show, “Mad Men. This is how you prepare an Old Fashioned:

First of all, put a sugar cube, a cherry, and an orange slice into a shaker. Splash some Angostura bitters onto the other ingredients and muddle. Pour 2.5 oz of Bourbon into the shaker and then add ice and shake it. Pour into a glass and top it off with Club soda.

The Old Fashioned is ready to serve.

<!–nextpage–>

lemondrop1

Lemon Drop

3. Lemon Drop Martini

The Lemon Drop is a favorite at private events, especially among women. It should have the perfect balance of sweet and sour.

Here is how you make the lemon drop:

Place a scoop of ice into a shaker. Pour in 3.5 oz of Vodka, 1 oz of fresh lemon juice, and 1 oz of simple syrup. Shake it vigorously, and then pour it into a martini glass. Sometimes I rim the glass with sugar and add a lemon wheel as a garnish, or a twist.
The secret to this drink is using mostly vodka, and not making it too sweet.

<!–nextpage–>

farrel1

Fresh grapefruits make for great drinks!

2. Paloma

The Paloma is a popular Mexican cocktail and is made a few different ways. The way it is often made at Mexican weddings is by mixing Tequila and Squirt. The way I like to make it is a bit different. Here is how I make it:

I pour 1.5 oz Tequila, 1 oz fresh grapefruit juice, and 1 oz of simple syrup into a shaker and shake it up. Pour into a glass and serve. I sometimes use a salt rim and garnish with a lime slice.

<!–nextpage–>

hc1

Jalapeno Margarita

1. Jalapeno Margarita

I make my own Jalapeno Margarita mix to make the Jalapeno Margarita. This is by far the most popular cocktail I serve at private parties. The way I make it is by adding 70 percent lime juice, 15 percent water, 15 percent Agave Nectar, and two sliced jalapenos into a blender. I blend it up real good.

I pour 2 oz of tequila and 2 oz Jalapeno Margarita mix into a shaker with ice and shake them up. I pour into a salt rimmed glass and add a lime slice for a garnish.

Hollywood Holiday Party

12 Dec
op1

Bartender Mia at Hollywood Holiday Party

Wednesday night I returned to Hollywood to provide bartending service for a holiday party of a very successful production company. I did the bar catering last year and was very happy to return. I brought another bartender with me and we served approximately 250 thirsty people. I set up two portable bars side by side and we went to town slinging drinks.

The hosts requested a specialty drink that required rosemary simple syrup. I volunteered to make the simple syrup, because I like the challenge of doing that. I can infuse almost any herb, fruit, or vegetable into simple syrup, and have done cucumber, peppercorn, ginger, and now rosemary. The drink they created was called the 1936 Cocktail and it consisted of Tito’s vodka, grapefruit juice, rosemary simple syrup, and dash of club soda. The drink was a big hit.

Papa Christo’s of Los Angeles provided the catering and they put out some excellent Greek food for the hungry partiers. We also served four different beers, red and white wines and various mixed drinks. I had helped the host with a shopping list and we went through most of it by the end.

op2

Crowd at Hollywood Holiday Party

Holiday Party Ideas

  • Hire a bartending service
  • Choose a theme
  • Book it plenty early
  • Keep the music playing
  • Have a raffle

This holiday season I have had to hire more bartenders to help out with the demand. Every year in December there are always parties on Friday and Saturday nights, and more during the week, especially during the first three weeks of the month. Luckily, I have been able to accommodate all of me good customers. So far, I am still available for New Year’s Eve – the last holiday party of the year. Call me today!

Please follow us on Facebook if you haven’t done so already.

21st Birthday Party in San Juan Capistrano

30 Aug
capistrano2

Guests helping themselves to excellent food

Saturday I traveled to San Juan Capistrano in Orange County to bartend a 21st birthday party. I have done several 21st birthday parties, and usually I have to make a big variety of cocktails as new drinkers sample them for the the first time. I planned a drink menu and shopping list with the birthday girl that included at least ten different cocktails.

I made Mojitos, Moscow Mules, Kentucky Mules, Mexican Mules, Mai Tais, Cuba Libres, Dirty Martinis, Bay Breezes, Gin and Tonics, and Cadillac Margaritas. It was a group of around fifty people and it was not a problem for me to make each cocktail from scratch. Most of the 21st birthday parties I have done have included many people in that age range, but this party included several older adults. The birthday girl was from a large Italian family.

capistrano3

Card game in progress

21st Birthday Party Ideas

  • Hire a bartender
  • Choose a theme
  • Create an interesting drink menu
  • Invite a wide variety of people
  • Make sure there are designated drivers

The food was provided in part by the Los Angeles based Eastside Italian Deli, and by the mother of the birthday girl. The food was really good with pasta, meatballs, sausages and I had more than one helping. I do many parties around Southern California for various ethnic groups, and I get to sample some fantastic food, and Italian food is always among my favorites.

capistrano1

Shots!

I have been very busy helping people plan parties and am currently helping plan a cocktail party coming up in Hancock Park where they want me to arrange the catering and everything. I have gotten several estimates for food and the prices vary dramatically. It makes me wonder if I am not charging enough. I know there is fine line between not charging enough, and not getting many jobs. I prefer to stay busy and not price myself right out of a job. I always seem to do better than expected when I provide top notch service and show up on time. Showing up on time for me, means arriving a half hour early.

Shaken Not Stirred Cocktails

22 Feb
cocktail1

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.

cocktail2

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.

hc1

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

cocktail4

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

supplies1

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

ps192

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

bond4

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.

Valentine’s Day Wedding in Palos Verdes

15 Feb
southbay3

February day at the South Bay Botanic Garden

Yesterday, I was contracted to help my associate bartender, Mia Martini bartend a Valentine’s Day wedding on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. I have a lot of history in the area and worked for years at the former Frascati Ristorante, and Le Rive Gauche. The wedding was held at the South Bay Botanic Garden, which is a beautiful venue to hold an outdoor wedding.  The weather was perfect, and it is certainly a risk to plan a wedding in February during El Nino.

Over 200 guests attended the wedding, and we served Moscow Mules, Kentucky Mules, Margaritas, and of course beer and wine.  These Mule cocktails are very popular right now and are easy to make, especially for a crowd of 200 people. Many brides and groom want to have elaborate specialty drinks for their weddings, but some craft cocktails simply take too much time to make, and hold up the line. I can do Mojitos in bulk when I have to, but that is not really the proper way to do them.

southbay2

Large crowd at Valentine’s Day Wedding

We got hit with the initial wave of people just after  the ceremony, but the night went very smoothly. My friend and associate, Mia is very organized and detail oriented, so that always helps make things go smoothly. She purchased 300 pounds of ice for the party, which we concerned wouldn’t last in the beginning, because it was so warm. After the sun went down, it cooled way down and we ended up dumping 60 pounds of ice. That will water the trees there.

Valentine’s Day Wedding

  • Makes remembering anniversaries easier
  • Combine anniversary and Valentine’s Day gifts
  • Friends and relatives get out of paying for dinner
  • Great hearts theme for wedding
  • Divorce proof

    southbay1

    Bride and Groom share first dance at Valentine’s Day Wedding

I want to mention some new work shoes I purchased. The last pair of work shoes I bought from Sears barely lasted six months. I literally only wore them twenty times before they started falling apart. I took them back to Sears, and they said, “tough luck.” I went to Sketchers and they have a line of shoes, specifically designed for service work. I bought a pair of shoes that are made from a synthetic material, which I was reluctant to buy. I must say these are the most comfortable work shoes I have ever bought. I was on my feet for eight hours and the shoes were great.

I have two weddings back to back in Palm Springs coming up, which I am working with the hosts to plan. I still have the 20th open and am looking for an event on that date. I will travel anywhere in Southern California.  Also, the Academy Awards will be held on February 28th, and I am available for that dates, if anybody is planning an Academy Awards party.

Glendora Super Bowl Party II

9 Feb
superb3

Shaken Not Stirred in the house

Sunday, I returned to Glendora to bartend the second annual super bowl party (that I have been involved in).  The host asked me back again, and I was delighted, because he has a killer backyard bar that is perfect for throwing big bashes. The weather was beyond perfect and about 80 guests enjoyed the game and cocktails provided by me.

The host asked me to create some specialty drinks, so I thought of some theme drinks, based on the teams playing. For the Carolina panthers, I created Carolina Sweet Tea, which has vodka, a splash of peach schnapps, and Popeye’s Sweet Tea.  I served this at a wedding and it was a huge hit – so much so that we had to go out and get more sweet tea. The tea didn’t over so well at the super bowl party, because there did not seem to be many Carolina fans in the house. I also created the Orange Crush in honor of the Broncos, and that was simply Orange Crush and vodka.  The hit drinks of the night ended up being the second string drinks – Jalapeno margaritas, and peach margaritas.

superb1

Crowd at Glendora Super Bowl Party

I saw many of the same people that came last year and many of them sat in the same seats.  I made a lot of blended concoctions and the bar is well stocked. We had one big screen television behind the bar, and he had another TV at a secondary bar, and a projection TV set up. They had a bounce house set up to keep the kids busy.

IMG_20160207_165810

Mustang in pieces!

Halfway through the game somebody called out, “Who owns a white Mustang parked across the street?” I raised my hand, thinking maybe I was parked in front of a fire hydrant or something. The guy told me I had better come out and look at it. I walked out to the street and saw my trusty steed in pieces. A guy driving by in a monster truck had side swiped it with his big tires.  I really didn’t have time to deal with the situation, and was not upset – the guy stopped and gave his insurance info. Stuff happens, and I had bartending to do – the show must go on. Fortunately, some people who lived across the street who had nothing to do with the accident zip tied my bumper back on so I could drive home. Everything worked out fine. That car has taken me to over 200 events and hopefully will be up to 200 more.

superb2

Shots!

The super bowl party was really buzzing by the end of the game and most of the guests were elated by the outcome. I really wasn’t able to watch the game, because I was busy, which is how I like it. The host says he is not having it again next year, but I hope he changes his mind. Next weekend is Valentine’s Day and I will be bartending a wedding in the South Bay for my associate Mia Martini. Late rthis month I will be returning to Palm Springs to bartend two weddings.  I am still open on February 20th at this point, so if you need a bartender for that date, please call me.

Palm Springs Bachelorette Party Bartender

25 Jul
Katsuya Fresh cocktails

Katsuya Fresh cocktails

Friday, I drove to Palm Springs for my second time as a bachelorette party bartender. Palm Springs seems to be the place that ladies from LA like to go for their bachelorette parties. Do you realize how hard it is to spell bachelorette? Anyway, there are many cool houses for weekend rentals that are perfect for this type of party. This particular house had a nice indoor bar with a sliding window that opened up to the pool area, so that people at the pool can come up and order drinks.

I worked with hosts of the party developing a drink menu. They requested the Katsuya Fresh as one of the specialty drinks. It was my first time making this cocktail, and it seemed to be a hit. There were nine ladies in attendance and we went through 3 bottles of vodka. The Katsuya Fresh is made with vodka, fresh lime juice, sake, and simple syrup. I also served spicy jalapeno margaritas, and gray hounds.

The ladies asked me to help them start the grill, and as I did that, I decided I would grill for them. This was my first time as grill master, and I really don’t have too much experience doing it, but I think I did ok. I would rather be busy than just standing behind the bar, and let the hosts enjoy themselves. I hope they were happy with my grilling, and I am afraid I didn’t cook the vegetables and corn long enough. There are some tricks to good grilling, and I should learn them, in case I run into this situation again.

Who's afraid of sharks?

Who’s afraid of sharks?

The ladies were surprised that I came all the way from Los Angeles to bartend a party in Palm Springs. I bartend in Palm springs because I like going out there. I can usually drive to Palm Springs quicker than I can drive to Orange County. I hope to be the bachelorette party bartender in Palm Springs on many more occasions.

I am quickly writing this, because I have to get ready for another event in Long Beach this afternoon. It is a 60th birthday party, and the second party I have done for this same client. I am taking a server with me also. Next weekend I have a big wedding in Malibu, and am taking three servers with me on that one. Summer is flying by and I am already booking parties into the holiday season.

Palm Springs bachelorettes

Palm Springs bachelorettes

Shaken Not Stirred Travels One Mile to Bartend Valley Glen Event

12 Jan
Guests mingle in Valley Glen

Guests mingle in Valley Glen

Shaken Not Stirred, the Los Angeles mobile bartender broke an all time record and traveled one whole mile to bartend a baby shower in his home base of Valley Glen. Valley Glen is a fancy way of saying Van Nuys. Van Nuys gets a bad rap because of ongoing garage sales in the area. Seriously though, they have expertly designed some of these neighborhoods so that they are perfectly isolated from the mean streets of Van Nuys. There are some nice little streets in there, and the party was on one of them.

I have bartended at baby showers before and served a few mimosas. This one was not like that. This was a coed event with about forty guests, and they were drinkers. The host wanted pink signature drinks in honor of the baby, and I served strawberry Mojitos, French Kiss cocktails, and pink grapefruit martinis. The strawberry Mojito was very popular and I went through two handles of rum. It drizzled rain for awhile, then it cleared up and was nice for the rest of the night.

French Kiss Martini

French Kiss Martini

The host hired a two piece band and they played almost the entire time, four hours without a break.  The lead singer didn’t have a card, and he said he was going to email me his information and asked if I would promote him. I must say, the live music added a lot to the party, and this two piece band was better than most I have seen. Whether people realize it or not, music makes a big difference. The live music turns a hoh-hum party into something epic. I hope he does email me, because I will promote him to my clients. I forgot my camera, so didn’t get any good pictures.

Two piece band in Valley Glen

Two piece band in Valley Glen

This coming Saturday I will be bartending a fundraiser in Koreatown. I have planned this party for a few weeks now with the host, who is coming from New York City. I feel like he and I are best friends now, though we have never met. I find him refreshingly direct, compared the laid back and sometimes wishy-washy California way of doing things. Then the following week, I have another party to do in good old Valley Glen. Two parties in one month in my neighborhood – my car is not getting enough wear and tear!

Beverly Hills Cocktail Party

29 May

For the second Wednesday in a row I was the bartender at a cocktail party in Beverly Hills, and neither were related which was a strange coincidence. I must admit, I am not really a “mixologist” but I had to do my best for this party and it was a good experience. The host gave me a fewcocktail recipes and I had to help compile a list of the different items needed. Some of the items on the list were not available, like Cuban Rum for instance, most all of the others we found at Total Wine and More.

I must also admit that I’m an old school bartender, who has always believed that the most important ingredient in a drink was the base alcohol, so I made strong drinks with not a lot of mixer and people were usually happy. For this cocktail party I did things differently and stuck completely to the recipes, and measured each ingredient exactly, which I have never done. One of the guests of the party explained to me why it was important not to put too much sweetening agent in a particular drink, but it was important to put just enough. I can appreciate that.

When I was working at Frascati in Redondo Beach I worked with many Italians and I noticed how important food and beverage was to them. They took such care in simple things like making an espresso or cappuccino. They knew all about the cheeses and different ingredients that were in their dishes. I had a feeling that they felt most of us Americans were lazy and ignorant about these things. Most of the time we were. Those of us in the food and beverage industry should take more time to learn more about everything we are doing.

The drinks we were serving at the cocktail party were classic cocktails including the Singapore Sling, the Centennial, the Hemingway Daiquiri, the Mai Tai (Trader Vic’s Recipe), and the Aviation Cocktail. The Aviation Cocktail is an interesting drink and has an ingredient, Crème de Violet, which gives a lavender tint to the drink and a very unique taste.

Beverly Hills bartender

Beverly Hills bartender

Mixologist station

Mixologist station

Beverly Hills

Beverly Hills

This weekend Shaken Not Stirred will be doing an anniversary party in Santa Clarita, then next weekend a Triple Crown Party in Pasedena, and an informal Bar Mitzvah, where I will be making “mocktails” for 100 teenagers in Calabasas. Then later on I have parties and weddings booked in Orange County, Camp Pendlelton, Lancaster, and Thousand Oaks. Business is really taking off and I am grateful.

Diamond Bar Center Wedding

16 Jul

Saturday, July 14th was the date of a beautiful wedding at the Diamond Bar Center. Shaken Not Stirred manned the bar and served cocktails to 160 people. I did this one by myself – something I don’t recommend for that many people, but I did okay with the help of some of the catering staff, the staff at the Diamond Bar Center, and some of the bride’s maids.

It was a very hot July day and as I was setting up the bar outside I wondered if the ice would melt before the wedding was over. As the sun went down though, a cool ocean breeze blew in making it a perfect night overlooking the San GabrielValley. People were waiting at the bar 20 deep and I was busting my hump making martinis and pouring beers, but in the end I think everyone was happy.

The bride and groom worked with me before hand and we made a cocktail menu consisting of  the Appletini, Pomegranate Cosmo (my signature drink), and the ever popular Margarita. We also served Jack Daniels, and I made the various drinks popular with that. For beers the groom chose Pacifico and Shock Top, and it was a toss up to know which one was most popular. We had four cases and the beers were completely gone by the end of the party.

The Diamond Bar Center is an excellent location for a wedding or any event. They have a first class kitchen, a portable

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 bar and large dining area. At this particular wedding 17 tables were set up with the finest table clothes ect. There is ample parking and a fantastic view of the San Gabriel Valley. I hope to do many more events at the DiamondBar Center.

Somebody asked me at the party as he took my business card if  Shaken Not Stirred only serves the Los Angeles area? Let me clarify this – Shaken Not Stirred serves the entire Southern California area, including: Los Angeles, Ventura, Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange, and even San Diego counties. We will travel to Bakersfield, Santa Barbara, Palm Springs, or even Barstow for a great event. Call today and plan your event because I am booking up August and even into October already.