Private Bartender

Eagle Rock Private Bartender

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
Birthday Party Bartender

Lancaster 40th Birthday Bash

Saturday night I was in Lancaster to bartend a 40th birthday party. I had worked extensively with the host to develop a shopping list and drink menu. He wanted about ten different specialty drinks available. I told him he would need to buy a whole bunch of different liquors and mixers. He said no problem, he had not had a birthday party for himself since he was seven years old, so he was going all out on his 40th birthday.

Among the drinks he wanted me to make were the Long Island Ice Tea, Adios, Mai Tai, Pina Collada, Regular and Watermelon Margaritas, Purple Hooter, Lemon Drop Martinis, Appletinis, and a variety of shooters including the Kamikaze, Jaeger Bombs, and the King Kong Bomb. The King Kong Bomb is made with Crown Royal and Banana liqueur  which is poured into a shot glass and then dropped into a glass of red bull. Doesn’t sound too good for my taste, but it was popular at the party.

There were about 60 people at the party and it appeared that everybody had a good time. The DJ’s car broke down, and he was late, but he eventually made it and the party was still going on when I left at 1 am. I made most of the drinks on the drink menu and I think the winner of the most requested was the regular blended Margarita, followed by the Bay Breeze, and then the ever popular Jack and Coke. Coronas, Blue Moon, and Coors Light were the beers available, with Corona being the one most requested.

I think the party did live up the host’s expectations. They had a beer pong table set up and were playing some other type of game, but I was too busy to see what it was. This is the type of party I really like to do, because I can use my skills as a bartender making the various drinks. I brought my martini glasses and poured the blended drinks into those. I did a salt rim on the Margaritas, and a sugar rim on the Lemon Drops. I have a 8 martini glasses and that seems to be plenty for parties of 50 to 60. I just recycle them as the party goes on.

I had to turn around the next morning and ge ready to go to the San Diego area for the Camp Pendleton wedding, which I will write about in my next post. I have 8 more weddings booked throughout July, August, and September. I am telling people if they want to book me for a party, they should do it at least one month in advance. At this point I am booked every Saturday in August, but still have most Fridays and Sundays available. If you want to do a party on a Friday or Sunday, I may offer a discount. Also

My portable bar and table
My portable bar and table
Loaded for Bear
Loaded for Bear

, I am still available for July 4th.

Anniversary Party Bartender

Santa Clarita Surprise Anniversary Party

Last night Shaken Not Stirred bartended and provided servers for a surprise 25th anniversary party at the Santa Clarita Activities Center. This was a very nice and fairy new venue and was a great place to have a party with plenty of parking. The daughter of the anniversary couple hired me and put on the whole elaborate surprise party. She created a whole story to get her parents to the location by making them believe they were going there to give a business presentation. The surprise worked perfectly as they walked into a room of 70 of their close friends and family members.

The food was brought in and my servers set it all up. I am lucky to have several good people who work for me on these occasions. Everybody I have does an incredible job and I am always complimented on the service of my employees. It is not brain surgery – I have been a part of hundred of events serving in nearly all of the capacities from server, to event planner, to manager. It doesn’t have to be a big, stressful deal for the hosts.

We served Cosmopolitans, Margaritas, and Jack Daniels at the bar, along with beer and wine. Entertainment was provided by “Dj Marvelous”, and he did the music and was also able to facilitate karaoke. The surprise guests of honor were very pleased and had a great time. I think everybody at the party did. It seemed to be a close knit group of family and friends and I think it was a memorable event for them celebrating an important milestone.

Santa Clarita Activities Center
Santa Clarita Activities Center
Cirita bartending
DJ Marvelous heats up the dance floor
DJ Marvelous heats up the dance floor

Next month, in June, Shaken Not Stirred is booked every weekend including some Saturdays and Sundays. Next weekend I have a “Triple Crown” party booked in Pasadena on Saturday, and a Bar Mitzvah on Sunday where I will serve fake cocktails to 100 teenagers. That should be interesting! I now have a portable bar, a table, and several Martini glasses I can offer for any party.

Christmas Party Bar tenders

Christmas Party in the City of Orange

Last night I bar tended a Christmas party in the City of Orange – the hills of Orange actually, at a very nice residence in a gated community. As a mobile bartender I have gone all over Southern California and have worked at many nice homes and venues, and have met an interesting cross section of people. Some of my clients are very wealthy and have huge fully stocked marble bars and fire pits outside and restaurant style patio heaters, and fine glassware, and some are working class people who throw backyard parties with a folding table set up for a bar, tubs full of beer, and plastic cups. I like doing all kinds of parties, and meeting all kinds of people.

Last night’s event was a small party of around twenty people. The bar was stocked very well, and had a nice selection of fine vodkas, including Jean Marc XO vodka, which is a French hand-crafted vodka, which is very refined for straight sipping. The host had ice balls that fit right into a cocktail glass and were just right for straight sipping different liquors. That was the first time I had ever seen those. I learn something new each time.

The hostess came up with the specialty drink, which was a Peartini. It was made with Pear infused Grey Goose vodka, a dash of Disaronno, a dash of Sweet and Sour, and topped off with champagne with a pear slice garnish. The drink was a big hit. I came up with a Fireball Martini, which was vodka with a dash of Fireball Whiskey, and a dash of bitters. I don’t know about that one – a couple people said that they liked it, but they didn’t order a second one.   

Christmas party bar
Christmas party bar
Guests mingling
Guests mingling

Next weekend I am doing a holiday party in Santa Barbara, and am renting a bunch of glassware for the party. If you need glassware, I can get most of what you need and rentals range from .75 to $1 per glass. I have a New Years Eve party booked in Upland, and have started to book weddings in the spring. Book your event now – don’t wait until the last minute, but if it is the last minute, call me anyway, I may be able to help you. Shaken Not Stirred is a mobile bartending service that covers the entire Southern California region.        

Party Bartenders

Los Angeles Bartending: Birthday Parties, Company Parties

In Los Angeles, parties and events take place for all kinds of reasons and occasions: birthday parties, corporate events, sports parties, television viewing parties – the list goes on and on. I have done three events in the past two weeks. Two were 40th birthday parties hosted at private homes, and the other event was a client appreciation party held at a post production facility in Burbank.

40th birthday parties seem to be popular because turning the big four-o marks a milestone in one’s life. I bartended at a man’s 40th birthday party at his home inRedondo Beach. The hosts had found a tiki bar on Craigslist that somebody was giving away free. They fixed it up a little bit and it made a fantastic backyard bar – they just needed a bartender, and that’s where I came in. The forty or so guests were very impressed. The drink of the night was the Cadillac Margarita, and there were many beer drinkers in attendance.

I worked another 40th birthday party inWest Los Angeles. They set up a table in the backyard and it made a functional backyard bar. The host made a drink menu and the most popular drink seemed to be the Pomegranate Martini. We used plastic martini glasses and they worked very well. I took a server with me to pass out finger foods and act as a barback. Once again, the guests in attendance were impressed by the service, and the hosts were free to mingle and have a good time.

I assisted another event company with the corporate party inBurbank. It was a fairy large event with over 100 guests. I’m sure the cost of the party was money well spent because the guests seemed to be enjoying themselves. Customers always have choices when choosing a post production facility for instance, and a client appreciation party is a good way to create client loyalty.

The point I’m trying to make here is that you don’t have to be rich or have a fancy bar set up to hire a bartender for your next party. These backyard parties with Pandora going on the stereo and a table makeshift bar setup can be fantastic and memorable events. The weather is getting nice now in Los Angeles and it will be perfect for many backyard parties and events this summer.

Party Planning, Special Event Bartenders

Party Planning in Los Angeles

People planning special events and parties in theLos Angeles area often ask me for ideas for specialty drinks and what they will need to stock their bar. Of course everybody has a different budget. I have posted below some of my specialty drinks and some ideas of what to buy when hosting a party of 40 to 50 guests. This is assuming that the guests will be drinkers and I try to cover most bases. Some hosts prefer to limit the choices and that usually works just fine and keeps the cost down. A good bartender can suggest drinks to guests that they may not of thought of.

There are a few signature drinks I make:

Pomegranate Cosmo – Pom juice, Vodka, Rose’s Lime juice, garnished with a lime

Cadillac Margarita – Tequilla, Margarita mix, Gran Marnier floater

Dirty Martini
 – Vodka, olive juice, dry vermouthMai  Tai – White rum, pineapple juice, orange juice, grenadine, Myers rum floater

White Russian – Vodka, Kalua, Milk

Pomegranate Sunrise – Pom juice,

orange juice, Tequilla

Of course, I can make all of the other combinations with those ingredients.

You may want to just keep it simple and go with one or two of those and the usual Jack and Coke, gin and tonic, etc. Margartitas are usually popular.

For 40 to 50 people I would suggest the following:

2  1.75 ltr bottle of tequila

2  1.75 ltr bottles of vodka

1  750mltr bourbon

“           Gin

“           Scotch

“           White Rum

“           Kahlua

“           Dark rum

“           Dry Vermouth

1 large bottle of Margarita mix

1 bottle Rose’s lime

1 bottle sour mix

1 bottle triple sec

1 bottle Pom Juice

1 carton Orange juice

1 carton milk

12 pack Coke

12 pack 7 up

12 pack Diet Coke

48 bottled waters

2  2 liter bottles of club soda
12 limes2  2 liter bottles of tonic

Bar salt

1 jar of olives

2 12 packs beer

2 12 packs light beer

6 bottles white wine

6 bottles red wine

5 20 pound bags of ice

Box cocktail napkins

Box bar straws

Box bar picks

Of course there is probably going to be a lot of liquor left over, but this list should keep everybody happy and you won’t run out of key ingredients in the middle of the party. Also, the types of drinks that are popular tend to coincide with the food that is being served. I have worked parties where Mexican food was catered and in those cases beer and margaritas were the popular thing. Other parties have a majority of wine drinkers. Vodka seems to be the most popular liquor item because it mixes with so many things.

When buying for your party or special even in the L.A. area, BevMo is a good place to go when you are buying a lot of things and you can get a good discount with their card. Ralph’s offers a great discounts when you buy six bottles of wine at a time. Costco and Smart and Final are also good.  Some people want kegs of beer and I can advise them on that too – Vendome Liquor is good for kegs.

Please call me (310) 280-6103 or email me if you have any questions or need help planning your party. I can help you tailor a drink menu that coincides with your food menu.  In any case, don’t get stressed out when planning your party – let the professional bartenders at Shaken Not Stirred help you plan your party in Los Angeles.

Special Event Bartenders

Professional Bartenders and Servers for Los Angeles Events

Shaken Not Stirred is now serving the Los Angeles area providing professional bartenders and servers for all kinds of events – including parties, weddings, openings, screenings, barbeques, and art shows. Whether you are planning an informal pool party, or formal black tie cocktail reception, Shaken Not Stirred can provide the service you need to maximize the experience of your guests. Our staff strives to make you look good and help to create a memorable event for all involved.

Rob Neighbors has over fifteen years experience bartending and serving in the L.A. area. He has worked in high-end Italian restaurants including Milano’s, Prego, and Frascati of Redondo Beach, where he served as bar manager for three years.

At Frascati, he helped create a wine list and specialty drink menu with Chef  Enrico Glaudo that proved  to be a hit in the busy restaurant. Rob went on to work at the classic French restaurant, La Rive Gauche in Palos Verdes, where he participated in countless special events, including business presentations, wedding receptions, wakes, and company parties.

Over Rob’s career in the restaurant business in Los Angeles, he has developed relationships with top bartenders and servers and has brought them into his company. Every staff member at Shaken Not Stirred has been chosen because they have proven track records and personal and working relationships with Rob Neighbors. We do not send unknown and unproven entities to your event. We pride ourselves on dependability and prompt and professional service.

What you can expect when you book a party with Shaken Not Stirred:

  • Rob will consult with you and help you determine what you will need for the party depending upon the number of guests.
  • Create a specialty drink menu if desired.
  • Bartenders will show up on time with a bar kit including martini shakers, cutting board, wine opener, pourers, and blender if needed.
  • No tip jars. All fees will be agreed upon up front.
  • Friendly, professional service.
  • Professional attire specific to the event.

We realize that planning and executing an important event can be very stressful, and we seek to minimize your stress by providing seamless, invisible service, meaning that our staff comes and goes without any drama or big fan fare.

To book a party, please contact Rob at  (310)280-6103  or email at

Rates vary depending on the level of service and type of event. A 25 percent non-refundable deposit will be required at the time of booking.  Shaken Not Stirred has both male and female bartenders and servers available.  We also have relationships with entertainers and caterers.

At Shaken Not Stirred, you only pay for the service provided for your party and no booking fees. Don’t even try to do the party yourself – let us help you create an event that you and your guests will never forget.  Shaken Not Stirred serves the entire Los Angeles Area, including the San Fernando Valley, Santa Monica, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Long Beach, the South Bay,Inland Empire, Orange County, Canyon Country, Ventura County, and Palm Springs.