Tag Archives: Encino

Rolling Hills Estates High School Graduation Party

13 Jun
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Scenic Rolling Hills Estates

Last Saturday I drove to the South Bay to bartend a high school graduation party in scenic Rolling Hills Estates. Of course, high school graduates are not yet of drinking age, but I served the graduates soft drinks, and mixed harder stuff for their parents and older siblings. The party took place at a very nice property, with a well stocked home bar.

I made Old Fashioneds, Dry Martinis, Margaritas, and Mojitos for approximately sixty guests. This was a much different party than the one I attended when I graduated high school. Ours was in a garage and we had a keg of beer and we all got really drunk. That was a different time and place over thirty years ago. These high school graduates are going off the universities like Tulane, and USC next year.

The host makes his own wine from grapes he grows himself on his property. I forget the name of the grape he uses, but I had never heard of it before. I decanted a couple of bottles and the guests loved it. He even has his own stylish labels on the bottles. He also makes Grappa, and limoncello.

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Home made wine from Rolling Hills

Graduation Party Ideas

  • Hire a bartender
  • Choose a theme
  • Serve great food
  • Invite the parents
  • Play great music

The party went on until midnight and they had a dance floor setup in the living room. It was a very nice graduation party, and I’m sure the graduates will always have fond memories of it. I met some good people who took my card and I hope they will call me for future jobs. I have a long history in the South Bay and I always enjoying back there.

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Home bar at Rolling Hills

Tomorrow I am doing a junior high graduation party in Encino. I will make virgin drinks for approximately 40 kids. I have done a few non alcoholic events. This coming Saturday I will drive out the Palmdale to bartend a wedding rehearsal party. I have other events later this month in Los Angeles and in Oxnard. Follow Shaken Not Stirred on Instagram if you haven’t done so already.

Spring Bartending Business is Picking up for Mobile Bartender

8 May
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Alternate “White Party” in Palm Springs

This is looking to be the busiest Spring season for Shaken Not Stirred since I began as a mobile bartender four years ago. I had three events last week and am doing five this week, and am booked up on Saturdays through June and July.  It takes a lot of work to manage all the events, and so far I have not messed up and forgotten one (knock on wood). Last weekend I bartended a 40th birthday party/pool party in Palm Springs Friday night, and then returned to the San Fernando Valley for two events on Saturday Night: a 60th birthday party in Sherman Oaks, and then sent another bartender to do a private school event in Encino.

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Summer Water keg

Palm Springs Alternate White Party

The “White Party” is an annual big deal and gay event in Palm springs and took place last weekend. It is one of many annual events in the area that brings in thousands of people for the weekend. I know, because hotels are expensive and hard to find during these events. Luckily I used my rewards points to get a room this time. The party I worked was an alternate straight “White Party,” and all the guests dressed in white in honor of it.

I made spicy margaritas, and Mezcal drinks. One of the guests was a wine make and he brought a keg of “Summer Water” Rose, that kept many of the guests busy throughout the night. AB’s Tacos provided the food and it was very good. I mixed drinks until 11pm and then left the guests to fend for themselves. I guess the city of Palm Springs has passed some new law that prohibits people from playing music outside after a certain time. Another business killing regulation. Neighboring Cathedral City will just take all of the rental business. I hate California politics that kills business left and right.

San Fernando Valley Events

I live and work in the San Fernando Valley. The “Valley” get a lot of flack from people on the other side of the hill and elsewhere, but the fact is that the valley has some of the nicest properties you will find anywhere. I bartended a party at a home in Sherman Oaks that is utterly fantastic. It is so nice that the host does not want me taking pictures of it. It formerly belonged to a major celebrity. I have been there a few times, because it is just a perfect spot for entertaining. This time it was a 60th birthday party.

I served only beer and wine for this party, but I served up some fantastic cabernet. I served an ultra magnum bottle of 2002 Cabernet, that holds 12 bottles. There were approximately 40 guests and I served up the whole thing. Master chef, Elan Adivi provided the catering and did not disappoint with a barbecue inspired menu. Chris Ellis Photography did the photos, and We Help You Host provided the servers. The birthday boy had a great time and it was his first birthday party in over thirty years. His best friend and sons provided some touching tributes.

At the same time I had another bartender providing beverage service at an Encino estate not far away. I finished my party and checked in on him. He was doing a fantastic job for my repeat clients. This week I have five big events scheduled – then I am off to New Orleans for some much need R&R, and to attend my friend, Jason Ricci’s wedding. On Wednesday, I will be doing an alumni event in Burbank, on Thursday, a pre-bris celebration in Studio City, off to Indian Wells on Friday for a wedding, and then back to Castaic on Saturday for a graduation party, and then finally a mother’s day dinner party in Woodland Hills on Sunday. On Monday morning early, I crawl onto a plane at LAX bound for the Big Easy. Think I will sleep on the plane? Probably not…

Mixologist at Encino Party

18 Apr
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Portable bar at Encino property

Shaken Not Stirred was the mixologist  (a must read) in residence at an Encino birthday party Saturday night. I made craft cocktails for a Southern themed party at a beautiful Encino home for approximately 40 guests. The cocktails I made included Cajon Lemonade, a cucumber mint gin julep, and the Kentucky cousin. Craft cocktails are a little more time intensive to make and it works better to serve them for smaller groups like this.

First of all, I hate the term, mixologist. I am using it here because it is a keyword people search for. I can do craft cocktails – it is not brain surgery. I have learned a lot about bartending from some of the clients I have served. One thing that is almost always present in craft cocktails, is 2 parts alcohol, one part sweetening agent, and one part citrus. I learned a new drink, the Pimm’s Cup, from some of the guests at the Encino party.

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Guests mingle at Encino birthday party

Code of the Mixologist

  • Grow a handle bar mustache
  • Wear a pork pie hat
  • Suspenders!
  • Talk about yourself in the third person
  • Equate yourself with nuclear physicists and brain surgeons

Lenny G’s provide the Louisiana style catering. They made up big pots of crawfish, and had other goodies like tritip, corn on the cob, hush puppies, and sweet potatoes. I am embarrassed to admit, but that was the first time I ever tried crawfish. They look very cool, and are like mini lobsters, and taste a lot like that too. Overall, I think the birthday boy, who was 38 had a great time. The Encino property was perfect for having parties, and I hope to return in the future.

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Guests dine on crawfish and goodies from Lenny G’s

Next weekend I am bartending a school fundraiser at a home in Hancock Park on Saturday. So far I have nothing booked for either Friday or Sunday. Have bar, and will travel to anywhere in Southern California. Maybe one day, I will get some more tattoos and a nose ring and become a real Los Angeles mixologist.

 

Torrance 40th Birthday Party

16 Apr
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Succulents adorn Torrance backyard

Last night, Shaken Not Stirred provided bartending service for a 40th birthday party in Torrance. The South Bay is my old stomping ground, and the parties in the South Bay tend to be ragers. This party was no exception, as the birthday boy rang in his 40th year in true South Bay style. Let’s just say that I served a bunch of vodka, tequila, single malt scotch, and even moonshine. It was some of that moonshine they are selling in the mason jars at the liquor stores, but it is still 100 proof.  I once drank real backwoods moonshine from Tennessee, and I woke up driving through Tijuana.

Backyard 40th  Birthday Party Ideas

  • Hire an experienced bartender
  • Hire a caterer
  • Make a theme
  • Offer specialty cocktails

The hosts had a very nice back deck that was adorned with dozens of beautiful succulents. This was a neighborhood in Torrance bordering Redondo Beach and there was a great view from the backyard of the Palos Verdes Peninsula, and Redondo Beach in the near distance. The weather was perfect for a backyard party, and they had a nice bar and barbecue area, and a fire pit.

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Succulents adorn Torrance backyard

Sierra Madre Catering provided the food, and they had all kinds of interesting goodies, including mac and cheese, refried beans, pulled pork sliders, mini Philly Cheese steaks, and more. Servers kept roaming the crowd with trays of goodies all night. I served my fresh grapefruit drinks, Palomas and Greyhounds. Single Malt scotch was quite popular and many of the guests brought some nice bottles of liquor to the party and some of them were consumed.

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Shots!

Tonight, I am staying in the San Fernando Valley to bartend a Southern themed birthday party in Encino.  I am making some drinks I have never made before for that one, so I need to study up. Next weekend I have a party booked in Hancock Park, and then later in the month I have events in Eagle Rock, and will be doing a special event at the Venice Art Fair that I am excited about.

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Moonshine!

La Quinta Backyard Wedding

11 Apr
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A threat of rain for a backyard wedding

Saturday, Shaken Not Stirred was in La Quinta to provide bartending service for a backyard wedding and reception. The whole Coachella Valley is full of rental houses that are perfect for doing these kinds of events. This particular property where the wedding was held is called the Mountain View Retreat, and it was perfect for a wedding of this size. The ceremony was held in one section of the backyard, and the dinner and reception was held on another part of the property.

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Backyard wedding ceremony

I worked with the bride through emails planning the drink menu and shopping list. We came up with one drink, which we called the “Ziggy Stardust”, that had mescal, fresh grapefruit juice, and simple syrup. I also did the Sazerac cocktail, which we called the “Major Tom”. A third cocktail was champagne with St. Germain. Approximately 50 guests enjoyed the wedding and reception at the Mountain View retreat. Once again, there was a threat of rain, which would have really caused problems, but it didn’t materialize.

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Bar menu for backyard wedding

F10 Catering of Palm Springs provided the catering for the backyard wedding. They served a gourmet 4 course meal to the guests who were seated at tables on the lawn. F10 Catering is connected to the restaurant, Cheeky’s in Palm Springs. If you have not eaten at Cheeky’s I urge you to try it – it is that restaurant on Palm Canyon where you always see a line of people standing on the sidewalk, waiting to get in. One indication of how good the food was. Kris Holmes provided DJ Service, and I must say he had a unique playlist, which was very good, and he didn’t play the standard clichés that all Dj’s insist on playing.

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Absinthe for Sazerac Cocktail

Backyard Wedding Advantages

  • Save money compared to a hotel
  • Hire your own vendors
  • Provide your own alcohol and supplies
  • More privacy and freedom
  • Unique settings

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    The bride and friends

Next weekend I will stay in the Los Angeles area for two birthday parties. On Friday I will return to the South Bay to bartend a birthday party in Torrance, and then on Saturday I will bartend a Southern themed party in Encino. I just booked an art fair in Venice later this month, and will return to Eagle Rock for a repeat client party.

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Shots!

 

The Pre-Wedding Cocktail Party

10 Apr
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Legacy Villas in La Quinta

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

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

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

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Pre-made margaritas in La Quinta

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

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Portable bar in courtyard

Pre-Wedding Cocktail Party Ideas

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

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    Friends enjoying pre-wedding cocktail party

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

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Clubhouse courtyard perfect for hosting parties

Five Holiday Parties in Five Days

22 Dec
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Tending bar in La Canada

Tis’ the season, and Shaken Not Stirred was busy last week bartending at five different holiday parties in five days. The holiday party season took me all over the San Fernando Valley, and to La Canada. On Tuesday I was called to do a last minute party in Encino when another bartender canceled, then on Wednesday and Thursday I bartended two back to back parties in La Canada, on Friday I bartended a party in Studio City, and then on Saturday I rounded out the week at a party in Porter Ranch. Needless to say, I made a lot of drinks.

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Martini waiting to go out

On Monday, I received a call from an associate of mine and she said someone she knew needed a bartender on Tuesday, because theirs cancelled last minute. I was happy to get the job, and so far in two years of business I have never cancelled a gig. The party was at a nice home in the hills of Encino and it was a company office party of around 16 people. I very mellow gig and I was very glad to help them. I made some Moscow Mules, Margaritas, and poured a few glasses of wine.

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School fundraiser in La Canada

Holiday Parties

  • Office Parties
    Fundraisers
    Christmas Parties
    Holiday cocktails
    Client appreciation parties

On Wednesday and Thursday I traveled to La Canada to the fabulous home of one of my best clients. He has his annual office Christmas party, and then his wife hosts a fundraiser for her children’s school the following night. Again, I served Moscow Mules, which are very popular right now. Some of the ladies requested a Mexican Mule, also known as a “Burro”, which substitutes tequila for vodka.

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Gamblers in Porter Ranch

On Friday, I went to Studio City to bartend a holiday party for a friend of mine. He had around sixty guests and I made Cranberry Old Fashioneds, and Moscow Mules. Red wine is also very popular as the weather turns colder, and I served several bottles of that. Many in the crowd were professional comedians, so it was a very fun group.

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Partiers in Studio City

On Saturday, I returned to Porter Ranch, to bartend for the third client in the same housing development. He had a real elaborate Christmas party planned, and he had a party planner, a caterer, servers, and casino tables. I poured martinis, Moscow Mules, and many scotch drinks. We used real glassware, which is always nice.

My next event so far is a New Year’s Eve party in Sherman Oaks, so not too far away. My daughter will be working that one with me, and I’ll be making some prohibition era cocktails, like The Last Word, Fleur di Paradis, Whiskey Sour, and Mint Juleps. It should be fun. I still have Christmas Eve open, and Saturday the 26th, if you need a bartender on those dates.

Los Angeles Bartending Service Goes Mobile for Three Events

13 Oct

Shaken Not Stirred, the Los Angeles bartending service went mobile this weekend and did three fantastic events in Encino, Temecula, and San Diego.  This was the second weekend in a row where I have done three events, and I am truly grateful.  I am getting calls from Google searches, which is the reason I write this blog. My Yelp page is also very helpful.

My first event was a surprise 30th birthday party in Encino. The host called me on Wednesday and asked if I was available for Friday. He called from my Yelp profile. I love getting last minute calls and if I am available I will most likely do them. I brought my martini glasses for the party and people drank dirty vodka martinis, Cosmos, and Cucumber martinis. The guest of honor was truly surprised and seemed to be elated by the party her husband arranged. I have said this before, but it is kind of cool to be present at important milestones in people’s lives.  Unfortunately, I forgot my camera and didn’t get any good

Future brides at Temecula wedding

Future brides at Temecula wedding

Crowded dance floor in Temecula

Crowded dance floor in Temecula

Shots!

Shots!

pictures.

On Saturday I had to drive out to Temecula to do a wedding that I booked months ago. When I booked the job, I didn’t realize that getting to Temecula is quite a journey. I had to transition on about five different freeways. The traffic was very heavy and I arrived right on time. Mia helped me with this one, and as always did a fantastic job. The signature cocktail was the Ciaprioska, which is like the Caipriana, but uses vodka instead of rum. The recipe requires muddling brown sugar with limes and pouring over vodka and ice, and then adding a splash of soda. They provided regular granulated sugar which is not quite the same, but we made it work. We operated two separate bars, inside and outside the house. In the end, I think the bride and groom were very happy.

On Sunday I booked a last minute gig in San Diego. I normally don’t do events in San Diego, but since it is quite close to Temecula I decided to do it. The event was held in a sukkah, which is a traditional tent constructed for the Jewish harvest festival of Sukkot. I did a presentation and gin tasting for forty men in the sukkah. It was a great experience. I researched the four gins we served, Bombay Sapphire, Old Tom, Hendricks, and Plymouth Navy Strength, and gave a brief presentation on the history of gin.  Everybody seemed to have a great time.  So, this was a weekend where mobile was the key word in mobile Los Angeles bartending service.

Next weekend I go mobile again and am doing an engagement party in Palmdale. I have a wedding to do on the 25th in the Inland Empire, and then a birthday party to do in Palm Springs on November 1. I am still available to do a Halloween party on October 31. I have had calls to do Halloween parties on October 25, but was not available.

 

Encino Law Office Anniversary Party

27 Jul

An Encino law office celebrated 20 years in business Saturday and Shaken Not Stirred was on hand to provide beverage service. The law office is located on an Encino estate that is perfect for partying. They did the party up right and had two different caterers, a photo booth, steel drum band, bartenders, and later on a DJ. It was a hot day and the ice was melting faster than we could keep it stocked.

The party was an open house and people came in and out all day. People brought their kids and the pool was busy all day. There was a dog there that was in and out of that pool for nine hours straight and I’m sure that dog had a good night’s sleep. I brought another bartender with me, Mia, and we served Modelo on tap, Margaritas, and a few other specialty drinks. We served many shots of tequila and had several brands to choose from including, Cazadores, Don Julio, Patron, and Don Azul.

Nesta provided the entertainment with steel drums and I have seen them at other parties – they are great  addition to any summer party. They had a taco bar set up in the front yard and I don’t know how the cooks kept from passing out it was so hot out there. The sun was just relentless. Another caterer was set up in the backyard and they kept passing around appetizers including shrimp cocktails, and then prepared a nice lasagna dinner. Everyone was well fed and we never ran out of drinks.

Next week I am doing a cocktail party in Beverly Hills for a repeat customer and then a wedding in Lancaster on Saturday. I have four different weddings booked for August. Then, in September I am planning on spending a whole week in the Palm Springs area and here is the press release

Rob with a huge jug of Cassadores

Rob with a huge jug of Cassadores

Retriever doing what she does best

Retriever doing what she does best

Nesta Steel Drum Band

Nesta Steel Drum Band

about that. The first week of September I am traveling to Montana for a much need week vacation.

 

Eagle Rock Private Bartender

26 Jul

Friday night Shaken Not Stirred served as private bartender for two couples in Eagle Rock who were having a small dinner party to celebrate one of the guest’s 40th birthday. I arrived at 9:30 just after dinner to put on a demonstration of how to make four different drinks. The host and I chose the drinks – Lemon Drop Martini, Old Fashioned, Manhattan, and one blended drink called the Georgia Peach.

I must admit that I was nervous, not knowing what to expect. I have taught many people how to bartend over the years and I decided I would take that approach. I filled a bottle up with water and put a pourer on it. The first thing I did was explained what a “count” was and how to do a proper 1.5 ounce pour. I demonstrated how to pour into a shot glass and then let all of the guests try it. It seemed to be fun for everybody.

I showed them how to cut twists and sugar a rim. We stated with the Lemon Drop which I made with fresh lemon juice, vodka, and simple syrup. That was a hit and we moved on to the Old Fashioned. I discovered after doing some research that I had been taught to do this drink wrong. I had always muddled a cherry and an orange slice along with bitters and sugar cube. Every recipe online said to only muddle the sugar cube with bitters and some water or club soda, and then put in the ice and pour the bourbon. I did it this way and the drinks just looked better. The guests thoroughly enjoyed them.

I was worried that four drinks would not fill up my allotted time. I forget that most people don’t gulp their drinks the way I used to. They sip them and enjoy. I made the Manhattan straight up. The Manhattan is kind of an acquired taste. It is a really strong drink. The guests were definitely feeling it after drinking this one.

The hosts had a really good blender and I made the Georgia Peach with fresh peach slices, raspberries, Peach Schnapps, ice, and Vodka.  It was the perfect drink to round out the night. Four drinks proved to be just the right amount for this demonstration. The people couldn’t have been nicer and it was great experience for me and I think for them. I hope to do more of these demonstrations. I will also say that Eagle Rock is one of the coolest towns in the Los Angeles area. It has a small town feel and so many interesting little shops and restaurants. Today, I am sticking close to home and doing a big party for a law firm’s 20th anniversary in Encino.

Foster's Freeze in Eagle Rock

Foster’s Freeze in Eagle Rock

An Old Fashioned and Manhattan

An Old Fashioned and Manhattan

Cool dining area in Eagle Rock home

Cool dining area in Eagle Rock home