Tag Archives: drink menu

21st Birthday Party in San Juan Capistrano

30 Aug
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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.

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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.

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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.

Long Beach Surprise Birthday Party

23 Feb

Last night I worked a surprise 50th birthday party in Long Beach. It was my first surprise party and it was fun seeing someone completely surprised by over fifty of his friends and relatives. I have done a wide variety of ages when it comes to birthday parties, from 1 year old, to 90 years old. I have had requests to do quincineras and sweet 16 parties, but have yet to book one.

I talked to the host before the party and she said that they had a wide variety of alcohol left over from other parties. They had lots of vodka, including a big bottle of Kirkland Vodka. That is basically Grey Goose, but much less expensive. The Kirkland brand liquors are high quality and a good value. They had tequila, Captain Morgan Rum, Jack Daniels, gin, and all of the mixers. I made a variety of drinks, but think in the future I should always at least make some kind of drink menu. It helps the guests choose what they want easier, and speeds up service.

Catering was provided by Tacos Y Chile, and they did a fantastic spread of very good tacos. The DJ was Ryan Ivora, who seemed to do a very good job a providing just the right mix of what the hosts wanted to hear, and his own selections. He also teaches surfing, so if you want surf lessons, or a DJ, you can contact him here.

Most of the people were beer drinkers at this party and we went through several 30 packs of Coors Light, Bud Light, and Bud Select 55, which is a low calorie, low alcohol beer. It was the birthday boy’s favorite beer, and he said that he likes it because it has less alcohol. I had a new girl working with me as barback and she did a great job. I did not have to tell her what to do and she jumped right in and got the job done. I will definitely use her again. The Long Beach party was for about 80 people and it was good to have the extra help. I recommend that people get more than one person for parties over 80 people.

The hostess for this particular party said that she has a lot of parties, but they had never hired a bartender before. I think she was pleased with our service and said she would hire us again. We try to be of maximum service and try to keep busy clearing tables and taking out trash as the party goes on, so there is less work for the host to do the next day.

The happiest three legged dog in Long Beach

The happiest three legged dog in Long Beach

Bar set up on serpentine table

Bar set up on serpentine table

This year is looking great for Shaken Not Stirred. I have booked several weddings in the spring, and seem to get a gig almost every weekend. Next weekend I will be doing a wedding reception in Cathedral City at the Cree Estate, and then later in March have a wedding in Mira Loma in the Inland Empire. Shaken Not Stirred also provides servers for weddings and will provide extra staff at several of the events I am doing.

How to Hire a Bartender in Southern California

2 Jan

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

 

Idyllwild Wedding Turned into an Upland Wedding

22 Jul

Early last week I heard reports of a fire burning out of control near Idyllwild, California. I was scheduled to bartend a wedding on Saturday at the Quiet Creek Inn at Idyllwild Pine Cove. On Wednesday my client emailed me and informed me that the wedding had been moved to the bride’s parent’s house in Upland. I was just happy that the wedding was going to happen and quickly switched my plans. The girl I had hired to help me actually lived in Upland, so she was happy.

I guess the family and friends of the bride and groom came together and scrambled to make the wedding happen on schedule. I must say it was a great save, and if the married couple is this adaptable throughout their marriage, they should do fantastic. The wedding came off well with around 80 guests in Upland on Saturday, July 20th. As the festivities were starting it began raining, making us wonder if the universe was not in line with this wedding, but the rain subsided and the ceremony went on.

My client requested that two specialty drinks be on the menu: the Pink Penny, which consisted of Gin, Rose syrup, peach juice, grapefruit juice, and lemon juice, and the Clementine Fizzy, which was sparkling wine, St. Germaine, peach juice and a dash of lemon juice. Interesting drinks I had never made before and I think they came off well. As a result of having the St. Germaine, which is an Elderflower liqueur, I created two new drinks. The first being what I call a G&G tonic, which is a Gin and tonic with a splash of St. Germaine. The other is a V&G tonic, which is the same thing, except made with vodka. People just loved it!

Beers for the night included Model Especial, and Negro, Hanger Wheat Ale, and Pyramid Hefeweizen. The groom provided several nice bottles of red and white wine but nobody drank any wine – I have found that to be the case on most summer events. We did go through a case of champagne, though. I used probably three cases of Arrowhead water and we were completely out by the end of the night. My suggestion is to buy plenty of water and it may be less expensive and more eco-friendly to buy gallons of water and have the bartender pour it into cups.

Catering was provided by Guerrilla Tacos. I have done many events with taco carts, but I must say these were very unique. He had some of the best salsa I have ever tasted. By the time my barback and I were able to grab something all the meat was gone. The caterer made me some vegetarian tacos that were just excellent, and I don’t have a vegetarian bone in my body. The caterer was also supposed to go to Idyllwild, but changed his plans as well. Everyone was flexible and everything worked out great.

I have had events nearly every weekend this month but don’t have much yet booked for next month, so make your plans for August now. I have not yet done any class reunions this year and would love to do some. Shaken Not Stirred services the entire Southern California area, including the LA Basin, The San Fernando Valley, The Inland Empire, Palm Springs, Ventura County and Santa Barbara to the west.

Fire burning near Idyllwild, California

Fire burning near Idyllwild, California

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.

June Birthday Parties

2 Jul

The last two weeks in June I bartended two birthday parties – a 40th birthday bash in Valley Glen, and a 90th Hawaiian themed birthday party in Newberry Park, Ventura County. Both were virtually last minute requests which I was happy to oblige. The host of the 40th birthday party called me the day of, and the party was literally three blocks from my house. The 90th birthday party was hosted by the celebrant’s daughter and she contacted me three days in advance. It does not take months to hire a bartender and host a successful party – if I am available I can help you make a shopping list and I show up, simple as that.

The 4oth birthday party in Valley Glen was a raucous affair and we went through 6 large bottles of Grey Goose, three bottle of Johnny Walker Black, and four bottles of tequila for a party of fifty, plus a whole lot of beer. I brought my blender and made blended margaritas. Chilled tequila and vodka shots were also popular. Heineken was the beer of choice. Catering was provided by Familia Perez, (213) 321-7229, and they put out an excellent spread of tacos, quesadillas, and burritos made to order. I arrived at 5 and was done by midnight.

I had never done a 90th birthday party before and didn’t know what to expect. The host was the birthday girl’s daughter and wanted to do something special for her mom. They had invited around thirty guests and the host didn’t want to to spend the entire time making drinks. She had never hired a bartender before and was reluctant. I made Mai Tais from a recipe she gave me and they were a hit at the Hawaiian themed party. Long Board beer was the beer of choice. The Poi Pounders (310) 534-1404 provided Hawaiian music, and really made it special for the birthday girl. I have never seen a ninety year old lady so happy. In the end, I think the host was very glad that she hired me, because she and her husband were able to relax and mingle with guests as I made the drinks.

I have three dates booked in July – two big weddings and another Hawaiian themed party. I am still open for the Forth of July. Remember, Shaken Not Stirred will also do Sunday pool parties, Friday night parties, and events on the weeknights. Don’t hesitate to call – if I can’t accommodate you, I can probably recommend somebody.

Set up for 90th party

Set up for 90th party

poipounders

To book them call (310) 534-1404

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The Birthday girl holds court!

Shaken Not Stirred serves the entire Southern California area.