Uncategorized, Wedding Bartender

Three Day Wedding Event at the Galvan Estate

Father walks bride to her wedding at the Galvan Estate

Last weekend I provided bartending services for three days at the Galvan Estate in Palm Springs. I arrived on Thursday night to bartend the rehearsal dinner, showed up again Friday for the wedding, and then wound up the weekend bartending the pool party on Saturday. It was my third time doing an event at the beautiful Galvan estate.

The hosts of the wedding were from Winnipeg, Canada, and most of the guests had either flown in or driven from there. They say it a 33 hour drive from Palm Springs to Winnipeg. Westjet offers direct flights to Palm Springs from various destinations in Canada. As I am learning, Palm Springs is a favorite destination for Canadians. One of the guests at this event flew all the way from Thailand.

Guests mingle in bar area

The rehearsal dinner was a breeze and I served a lot of red and white wine, beer, and simple mixed drinks. The next day for the wedding, I brought in an extra helper. We made two signature drinks for the arriving wedding guests. So I made 40 drinks in about fifteen minutes before the ceremony. Later we prepared just as many glasses of champagne for the toast. Everything was smooth sailing from then on.

Galvan Estate Wedding

  • Heated pool
  • Large wet bar outside
  • Another bar inside
  • Large area for ceremony
  • Big outside dining area
  • Gas barbecue grill

For the pool party we had a keg, and I served blended margaritas. It was a very nice crowd to serve for three days, and everybody seemed to have a good time. I had another wedding going on in Lake View Terrace that night, and I send another bartender to do that one. Once the pool party was over I drove back to LA and stopped by that wedding to help out a bit.

Groom and groomsmen share cigars

This weekend I am returning to Palm Springs to bartend an all day pool party. I have events coming up later this month in Westwood, Brentwood, and Stevenson Ranch. Please follow Shaken Not Stirred on Instagram.

Mobile Bartenders, Party Bartenders, Uncategorized

Bartender to the Rescue in Studio City


Saturday night I was sitting at home for the first Saturday night in a long time when a call came out for a “bartender to the rescue” in Studio City. Another bartender cancelled at the last minute and they needed somebody right away. I put on my bartender cape and was at their door in fifteen minutes. Luckily, Studio City is only three miles away. Shaken Not Stirred is located in Valley Glen.

When I walked in the usual chaos was ensuing at the bar as guests fumbled trying to open bottles and pour their own drinks. One guy brought a full drink and set it down in front of me. “I don’t want this – it’s the worst drink I’ve ever had,” he said. One of the guests had made it for him. It took me a few minutes to get acclimated, but had the bar running smoothly in no time. The party was a pajama party of 20 to 30 year olds, and they were playing some kind of trivia game. A food truck outside was serving the food.

I made mostly simple drinks like Jack and Coke, and Tequila Sodas. A lot of the younger people drink either vodka/soda, or tequila/soda with lime, because those drinks have less calories. I have noticed that is the drink of choice among Millennials in LA. It seems that you don’t really need a bartender to make those drinks, but obviously you do, because most people don’t know how much to pour. That is the problem when you don’t hire a bartender – a lot of alcohol gets wasted and thrown away because the drinks are awful, or worse yet – bottles of alcohol “walk away.” I have confronted guests at wedding that I was bartending who tried to steal bottles of alcohol.

Last Minute Bartender to the Rescue

  • Original bartender cancels last minute
  • Bartender no show/no call
  • Bartender shows up drunk or high
  • Host realizes last minute a bartender is needed
  • Bartender doesn’t know what he or she is doing

    Guests playing trivia game

When I am bartending, I am often not busy making drinks the whole time. That is when I take the time to clean up the area. People leave plates, cups, and napkins on the tables and countertops and I take a moment to clean them up. People are always amazed when I do this. Well, a bartender in a bar or restaurant is expected to keep their area clean, and I take that same philosophy into the homes and venues where I do private parties. Sometimes I am just to busy behind the bar to do it, but I try to keep the area clean when I can. The host of this party was very happy with me and wrote me a nice 5 star review.

This coming weekend I have a surprise birthday party scheduled in Hermosa Beach on Friday, and then a wedding in Palm Springs on Saturday. I will return to Palm Springs the following weekend and then have other events scheduled in the City of Walnut, Tarzana, and Indian Wells later in the month.

Mobile Bartenders, Special Event Bartenders, Wedding Bartender

Mobile Bartender Service at Cathedral City Wedding

Shaken Not Stirred, the Southern California mobile bartending service provided mixology at the beautiful Cree Estate in Cathedral City. This is the second wedding

Madboom Cooler
Madboom Cooler
The Cree estate pool
The Cree estate pool
Guests mingle at cocktail hour
Guests mingle at cocktail hour
Twilight at the Cree Estate
Twilight at the Cree Estate

I have done two weddings at the Cree Estate, and I must say if you want absolute privacy for your wedding in a fantastic setting in the Palm Springs area, consider the Cree Estate. For this event, we had two bars, one near the main house for the cocktail hour immediately preceding the wedding ceremony, and then another bar was set up on the lawn for the after dinner reception.

I had planned the bar service with the bride for several months leading up to the wedding. She wanted a cucumber/vodka based drink. She wanted to do a drink that was served in one of her favorite bars, which involved muddling a cucumber with mint leaves and serving it with vodka and pineapple juice. We decided that any drink that involves muddling is probably not the best idea for a wedding with 100 guests. We settled on a drink that was called the Madboom Cooler. I made cucumber/mint syrup to eliminate the muddling. We used one once of cumber/mint syrup, one once of pineapple juice, two ounces of vodka, and a splash of club soda. Top it off with a cucumber slice and a mint leaf garnish.

The drink seemed to be a hit as about 80 percent of the guests ordered it at the cocktail hour. I wasn’t really prepared for that. At most wedding and events, usually only about 25 percent of the guests order the specialty cocktail. I was making those drinks five at a time. It seemed that people liked them, because many came back for more. We had real glassware, which is always nice. We also served Dry Creek Chenin Blanc, and Souverain Cabernet for wine, and had Negro Modelo and Corona Light for cervesas.

Mia was my barback and she always does an incredible job and is a great bartender as well. I often bartend parties of 100 people by myself, but I recommend a barback for groups that large. For groups over 125, I definitely recommend two bartenders. I have another wedding coming up in Temecula in two weeks and she will help me with that one as well.

This coming week, the mobile bartending service will stay close to LA. I have a post wedding party in Calabasas on Friday, a birthday party in Venice on Saturday, and then a birthday party on Sunday in Porter Ranch. By request I will be making homemade margarita mix for the party on Friday. I am enjoying making mixes with fresh ingredients. I am not going to sit here and say that it is brain surgery. Making the infused simple syrups and mixes is pretty easy to do, but I think the difference in taste really makes it worth it.

Mobile Bartenders, Wedding Bartender

Mobile Bartender Services Tehacapi Wedding

Saturday, Shaken Not Stirred, the Los Angeles mobile bartender that travels all over Southern California, provided beverage service at a Tehacapi wedding in Kern County. The wedding was held at a new wedding venue at a very picturesque location outside of Tehacapi called the Rose Garden Estate. The weather and scenery couldn’t have been nicer. Once the sun went down, the sky was clearer and the stars were brighter than I have seen them in a long time. It is far enough away from LA for that.

Rose Garden Estate Wedding
Rose Garden Estate Wedding
First Dance
First Dance

I talked to owner who operates the venue and he said he built the business specifically to do weddings and events, and he also operates it as a bed and breakfast. He has all the tables, dance floor, lights, and almost everything else needed for a wedding right there. I brought my portable bar and set it up as people were rushing around preparing for the ceremony. I hope to bartend more events at that venue.

The ceremony was held outside on the lawn overlooking the valley. The reception and dinner was held in a big building there designed for that purpose. About seventy guests were in attendance. The bride wanted to limit the number of drinks each person had and she did that by issuing four tickets to each person. That way, theoretically each person’s limit would be four drinks. She did not wanting people getting drunk and out of control.

I told her there is almost no way to keep an alcoholic from getting drunk and out of control once they start drinking. They either have their own supply, or they beg other family members for extra tickets, etc. Well, fortunately, nobody seemed to be drunk and out of control. As a certified bartender it is my job to spot people who have had too much and cut them off accordingly. That rarely has to happen – I am happy to report that the vast majority of the people I serve at weddings and other events drink responsibly. There are usually a few that are a problem, but I know how to spot them.

We did run out of alcohol just as the party was ending, but there was a lot of beer left. I help my clients with their shopping lists and I am usually pretty accurate on how much they should by. Next weekend I have two weddings booked – one in Camarillo, and one in El Monte. The wedding season sows no signs of fading out, as I am continuing to book weddings into September, October, and November. The weather in Southern California is so nice, that there is plenty of work for a mobile bartender all year long.

Birthday Party Bartender, Corporate Event, Special Event Bartenders

Downtown LA Corporate Events and Palm Springs Birthday Party

It was another busy week for Shaken Not Stirred as we did corporate events in downtown LA on Thursday and Friday, and then traveled to Palm Springs on Saturday. In addition, a former client in Beverly Hills need someone on Friday night and I sent one of my other bartenders. Everything turned out very well, and I believe we have some more satisfied clients.

Thursday and Friday I was at The Reef

A world of dogs at the Reef
A world of dogs at the Reef
Drinks waiting to go out
Drinks waiting to go out
Palm Springs pool action
Palm Springs pool action
Guests react to surprise mariachis

in downtown Los Angeles as they had one of their quarterly sales events that attract hundreds of buyers. We set up stations in the morning to serve Mimosas, and then again in the afternoon to serve wine.  People look at the mimosa station and roll their eyes – “This early?” they say, but we ended up serving all of the champagne budgeted.  This kind of bartending is so easy, that it is almost embarrassing, yet however one of the bartenders pre-opened every single bottle of wine at his station, and much of that wine had to be poured out. That is something that comes with experience – you pre open a few only. Wine goes bad quickly once it is opened.

The Palm Springs event was a 50th birthday party and went from 1pm until 10pm.  I made dirty martinis, cosmos, bay breeze, and many margaritas. I make good margaritas and I always add fresh squeezed lime juice to them with a salt rim. There was a lime tree in the backyard, so I had no shortage of limes. There was also a grapefruit tree and I made Salty Dog martinis with the fresh grapefruits.

This birthday party was one of the most memorable I’ve done.  Friends and family members of the birthday celebrant came from all over the country and Canada for the event. They rented a very nice home in Palm Springs just north of downtown. They arranged for two separate tours for the guests to see the movie stars homes in Palm Springs. Crayons of Palm Springs provided the catering and they were fantastic. They had two different types of paninis, heirloom tomatoes, pasta, and other goodies. Their strawberry salad was out of this world, and I was reluctant to try it because I don’t normally like salads with fruit in them. Truly a unique choice in catering and I highly recommend.

The highlight of the evening and it really was an incredible moment, was when the doorbell rang, and in came a troupe of mariachis blasting their trumpets and it was completely unexpected. Some friends of the birthday boy had hired the mariachis as a surprise and they ended up playing for an hour. It really blasted the party into the fourth dimension.  Mariachi Jalisco provided the mariachis and their phone number is (760) 333-0991.

Next weekend I will be doing a big event in Encino as a law office throws a big anniversary party and is expecting almost 200 guests.

Birthday Party Bartender, Mobile Bartenders

Los Angeles Birthday Party

Finally, after over two years in business in Los Angeles, I got to do a party in Los Angeles. I have done parties all over Southern California, from Palm Springs to Santa Barbara. I have been in Long Beach, Santa Monica, Hollywood, Burbank, and Pasadena. I have done many parties in the San Fernando Valley, the Inland Empire, and Orange County, but last night I bartended my first party in the city of Los Angeles. The competition among bartending companies

In the West Adams district  of Los Angeles
In the West Adams district of Los Angeles


Table bar set up
Table bar set up


Me preparing to make a Rob Roy
Me preparing to make a Rob Roy


Crowd dancing to "YMCA" (not really that song!)
Crowd dancing to “YMCA”
(not really that song!)

is fierce in LA, but Shaken Not Stirred is steadily making a foothold in Southern California.

Last night, I bartended a birthday party at a very cool Victorian home in the West Adams neighborhood, south of Koreatown. The host was throwing a party for his girlfriend and I heard her say it was her first birthday party since becoming an adult. They had caterers there set up outside and they served some very good tacos. I had a makeshift bar set up inside, which was a folding table with a table cloth. I have inserted a picture to show that this set up works just fine.

The host also hired a DJ who was one of his personal friends, and the guy really made the party. I have been looking for a DJ to highly recommend, and I think I have finally found him. The name of his company is “Ten foot Rabbit”. The DJ’s girlfriend assisted him, and she not only helped him set up his equipment, but she mingled and engaged with people in the crowd and got them dancing. As the night progressed, the dance floor was packed, which made for a successful party. Here is a link to the DJ’s Facebook page.

At the request of the birthday girl, I served Rob Roy’s and Manhattans. Those are both classic cocktails and definitely an acquired taste, but were a hit with this crowd. I also served Cadillac Margaritas, which are always popular. In case you didn’t know, you need Gran Marnier to make a Margarita “Cadillac” and it really makes a big difference in taste. Coming in third at the party for cocktails was the Cosmopolitan. I brought some real martini glasses, and they seem to make the drinks so much better. At least they look better.

Next weekend I still have open and am hoping to book a gig. I probably will before Saturday, as many people wait until the last moment. So far I have almost every weekend booked in April, and I have been working with people back and forth for weddings as far away as September. I have been creeping up in Google searches and the phone is starting to ring from that alone, which was the goal.