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.