Tag Archives: La Quinta

Santa Monica Showcase and Mountain View Retreat Wedding

26 Mar
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Back to the Future car at Virtual Reality showcase.

Shaken Not Stirred had another busy weekend – first bartending a showcase event in Santa Monica on Friday, and then doing a wedding at the Mountain View Retreat in La Quinta on Saturday. I made hundreds of drinks at the two events and served several cases of alcohol. I guess I got my practice in, because I’m gearing up for a three day wedding event I have this coming weekend in Palm Springs.

The showcase event was held at a historic building in Santa Monica which is now home to The Gateway Virtual Reality Showroom. They showcase new forms of virtual reality there. I was too busy to check out any of their demonstrations, but it all looked very cool. I brought another bartender with me and we worked two separate bars, serving over 200 people.

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Guests mingle in back lot

Karma Tequila provided the tequila for the event and we also served the new light beer from Corona – Corona Premier, with only 90 calories. Guests said it was pretty good. They had a couple of food trucks pulls into the back parking lot to serve the grub, and they had a DJ on the scene. We served completely out of tequila and most of the beer by the time the night was through.

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Shots!

The next morning I had to get up bright and early and head out to La Quinta, 120 miles away. I was not only bartending a wedding that night, but I had to do all the shopping too. It is an extra service I provide and charge extra for, but in some cases the host wants that convenience. I preordered most of the alcohol from Bevmo, and it was all waiting for me in La Quinta when I got there. The rest of the supplies I bought at Smart and Final, including the ice.

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Wedding ceremony at Mountain View Retreat

The wedding was held at the Mountain View Retreat, where I have bartended before. I set up my portable bar and table under a veranda beside the pool. The ceremony was very nice and then the cocktail hour began. I handled 75 guests by myself just fine, though the line got long at times. I served spicy jalapeno margaritas, and a lot of vodka drinks. We ran out of vodka and bourbon  toward the end and the wedding planner went and bought more.

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Guests mingle by the pool

This coming weekend I am returning the Palm Springs to bartend a three day weddding event. Thursday is the rehearsal dinner, Friday the wedding, and then there is a pool party on Saturday. I will be bartending all three events, so it should be a fun weekend. Please follow us on Instagram if you haven’t already.

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Shots!

La Quinta Cocktail Party

11 Oct
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La Quinta Rental home across from Desert Trip

Sunday I got a last minute call to bartend a cocktail party in La Quinta. The call came at 10 am and they wanted me there by 1pm – La Quinta is 150 miles from my house. I told him I could be there by two. I put on my mobile bartender suit, loaded my cooler and bar kit and drove out there. Desert Trip, the three day music festival was going on just across the road from where I was bartending and 90,000 people were in town for that.

My job was simple, set up my portable bar by the pool and serve cocktails for an hour or two, and then serve wine at dinner. There were ten guests in from Maryland to attend the Desert Trip show and I was to serve them drinks before the show. I served Moscow Mules, Mexican Mules, and Kentucky Mules. The people that hired me were somehow connected to the Desert Trip promoters, and the guests I was serving were VIPS, also somehow connected to the promoters.

This was the second time Shaken Not Stirred went out to the Coachella Valley in two weeks. I go out there, when it is worth my while, and I always enjoy the area. The dramatic landscape just makes me feel good for some reason, and it is always nice to get a reprieve from LA. The group I was serving were all very nice and I made them all a couple of drinks a piece. This was a typical intimate cocktail party.

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Tequila shots at La Quinta cocktail party

Cocktail Party Procedure

  • Serve specialty drinks
  • Craft cocktails
  • Use appropriate glassware
  • Serve drinks on a tray

After the guests had a couple of cocktails, they all moved inside for dinner. A private chef was there and she prepared a fantastic four course dinner. She didn’t have a card and said she would email me her info, but has not done so yet. The meal included a rabbit pate appetizer, wild King Salmon filets, roasted chicken, and various fresh roasted vegetables. I served the wine and cleared the plates. I have alot of experience doing this and enjoy doing it for groups like this.

After dinner, the guests quickly left to attend the third night of Desert Trip. The Who and Rodger Waters were playing. I packed up and finished just in time to take in the presidential debate. On Wednesday I will be driving to Orange County to bartend an event for some of my best clients, and then on Saturday, I will be staying close to home and doing a birthday party in Woodland Hills.

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

Three Day Event at LA Mart

6 Apr
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New Skyscraper going up in Downtown LA

Shaken Not Stirred just finished providing bartending service for a three day event at the LA Mart in downtown Los Angeles.  I have done many events for them, and for this event they were offering complimentary Mimosas to the buyers that were at the Mart for their annual Spring designer week. I always like doing these events and it is fun talking to all the people going through there. I have even made some friendships with some of the sellers in the building who have seen during the different events that I have done there.

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People bring their dogs to work at LA Mart

The LA Mart is the largest marketplace of its kind west of the Mississippi. I think they like to serve complimentary drinks as a way to set themselves apart from other markets. Many of the buyers don’t want to start drinking at 9am, but it is a nice touch anyway. Some of the buyers are in ffrom out of town, so they try to have some fun and make a semi vacation out of it.

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Makings for Mimosas

I am ABC certified and have taken the LEADS class put on by the California ABC, and that is required to serve alcohol at the LA Mart. Most venues and corporate clients require that.  I will be taking another class soon to keep that up to date. The state ABC classes are held at various locations around the city once a month.

LA Mart/The Reef

  • Open five days a week
  • 500,000 square feet of showrooms
  • Permanent showrooms
  • Furniture, gift items, premium product lines
  • South of downtown Los Angeles

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    Showroom window at LA Mart

I am now getting ready for a big weekend in the Coachella Valley. I have a wedding party in La Quinta on Friday night, and then another one on Saturday night. I will be serving several exciting drinks to hundreds of people in the desert, including the Sazerac cocktail, which I have never made before.

Wedding at McCormick Home Ranch

4 Apr
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Before the ceremony

Saturday, Shaken Not Stirred provided bartending service for a storybook wedding at McCormick Home Ranch in Camarillo. This was the first Spring wedding of the season, and the flowers were in full bloom at the ranch and the day was absolutely perfect. The sun was bright during the 4:30 ceremony, but a cool breeze blew in from the ocean. April is a beautiful month to have a wedding in Ventura County.

The bride and groom came all the way from Japan to get married. My initial consultation and interview with them was done via Facebook video chat. The bride grew up in Simi Valley, so she came back home to get married. The groom is from England, and many of his friends and family came from there to attend the wedding. There were guests from all over the country, and the four corners of the world at the McCormick Home Ranch wedding. This was my third time bartending at the ranch and it is one of my favorite venues.

McCormick Home Ranch Weddings

  • Historic estate
  • Beautiful gardens and front yard
  • Secluded location
  • Huge parking area
  • Multiple areas for ceremony

Catering was provided by Green Acres Farm Market and Catering of Simi Valley. They put up an excellent spread of appetizers during the cocktail hour, and then barbecue goodies for the dinner.  DJ services and photo booth were provided by Vox Dj’s of Manhattan Beach. One Sweet Day Events did the wedding planning, and they were great to work with. The groom said during his speech that everything had materialized just as they had hoped for and better. The bride and groom looked impeccable and they could have been placed upon top of a giant wedding cake to show everyone else how it’s done.

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Storybook wedding at McCormick Home Ranch

I made a specialty drink out of fresh grapefruit juice I had squeezed. We made Palomas with tequila, simple syrup, fresh grapefruit juice, and club soda. I also made Sangria, which was a hit. I have made Sangria in the past and there were few takers, but this time it seemed to be popular. My son, Willie, helped me and will soon be going out on jobs by himself. He has worked with me at several weddings and is ready.

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Hurry sundown!

I am currently doing corporate events at the LA Mart in downtown Los Angeles through tomorrow, and then I am out to La Quinta on Friday to bartend a wedding, and then another one on Saturday night. I love bartending weddings, and the wedding at McCormick Home Ranch was a good one to kick off the season with.

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Shots!

Agoura Hills 40th Birthday Party

29 Mar
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Agoura Hills neighborhood

On Saturday, Shaken Not Stirred traveled to Agoura Hills to bartend a 40th birthday party and casino night. The host had really done the house up right for the event and they had two blackjack tables, a craps table and Texas Hold em’ poker. They really had the house set up like an illicit private casino. This was all in fun, of course, because the guests weren’t gambling for real money.

The home at a built in bar, that the host said they never used. I made myself at home behind the bar and I served Moscow Mules, Kentucky Mules, Lemon Drops, and Cosmos. There were over fifty guests and I kept pretty busy for awhile. The guests were having a great time at the tables, and when I could I went around Vegas style to tables taking drink orders.

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Blackjack table

40th Birthday Party Ideas

  • Hire a bartender
  • Casino games
  • Plan a drink menu
  • Choose a theme

The food provided for this 40th birthday party was traditional middle eastern cuisine, including shish kabobs, hummus and other favorites. I did not get the name of the caterer. California Casino Company of Thousand Oaks provided the dealers and casino tables. Pandora, I believe provided the music. Of course, all casino nights usually include music from the Rat Pack, including classics by Sinatra, Tony Bennett, and Dean Martin. I was thinking that these songs, like “All or Nothing at All,” “I’ve Got You Under my Skin,” have been recycled thousands of times at Italian Restaurants, Casinos, and parties. All of those songs that were recorded in the sixties, and there is nothing new like them coming out now. All of the great song writers must be dead.

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Texas Hold Em’

March was slow for Shaken Not Stirred, but things are looking up in April. I have a wedding this weekend in Camarillo, that kicks off the Spring wedding season. Then I have three back to back events in Downtown LA, then the following weekend I am off to La Quinta to bartend two weddings. I have had many calls for graduation parties in May, and am having to farm some of them out. If I can’t do a job myself, I will do my best to refer another bartender I trust, or send one of my other qualified bartenders out.

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Craps