Tag Archives: martinis

Woodland Hills 60th Birthday Party

9 Nov

I have bartended 30th, 40th, and 50th birthday parties, and last night in Woodland Hills I was the bartender at my first 60th birthday party. The guest of honor thought she was going to have dinner with a few relatives, and got the surprise to see over 30 of her friends and relatives in attendance. Her son and daughter had hired me as the bartender. I have bartended many surprise birthday parties and it is always nice to see the look on the surprisee’s face when they get surprised.

The house where the party was held was near Serrania Park in Woodland Hills where I have a lot of history. My kids attended Woodland Hills Elementary not far away, my wife worked at Woodland Hills Country Club, and we always brought our dog to Serrania Park. It is a really nice area in the San Fernando Valley and there are some very nice homes there. This house had a very nice bar and room for entertaining. They had purchased martini glasses for the party.

I made cucumber martinis, lemon drops, cosmos, and classic martinis. I make the cucumber syrup and a lot of people really like it, but it is very concentrated and sweet and I have to be careful not to use too much of it. Last night I used a shot glass to measure it and I think the results were better. One of my clients complained in his Yelp review that the drinks were too sweet and I certainly took note. When I was drinking – I hated sweet drinks.

Next week on Friday I will be bartending a 21st birthday party in downtown LA. That will be another first for me. It is a Moroccan themed party and I have to come up with some Moroccan themed cocktail ideas. Saturday I am bartending a strictly non-alcoholic party in Orange County and I came up with several non-alcoholic cocktails for that event. I am doing at least two events every week and hope during the holiday season, it will be at least three.

If you are looking at this right now and you need a last minute bartender, don’t hesitate to call me. I will help you if I can. There have been times when bartenders didn’t show up when they were scheduled or showed up drunk and I stepped in. Weekends are my time to work and I love bartending parties all over Southern California and meeting new people. Call me!  Follow me on Twitter.

Crystal decanters and tulips

Crystal decanters and tulips

Drinks waiting to go out

Drinks waiting to go out

Shots!

Shots!

Beverly Hills Moroccan Themed Birthday Party

28 Jun

Friday night I was the bartender at a Beverly Hill Moroccan themed birthday party. I was hired just a couple of days prior, so there wasn’t much time for preparation. I usually make a detailed list for people on what they need to buy for a party and a drink menu, but we didn’t really do that other than just over the phone. The bar was a little limited as for what I had to work with, but I made it work.

The host wanted to do a Moroccan themed drink and she made cinnamon infused simple syrup for the drink. I didn’t catch the name of the drink, but we coined it the “Moroccan Rocket”. It was made with Bullit Rye Whiskey, a dash of orange bitters, a dash of Rose’s lime juice, a teaspoon of the cinnamon infused simple syrup, and then club soda poured over ice with an orange peel garnish. It was a big hit!

I brought my martini glasses and served a few martinis. I had squeezed lemons from a tree in my back yard. We have the best, juiciest lemons I have ever seen. They have a darker peel than the lemons you buy in the stores, and they are so juicy and kind of sweet. I add an ounce of that to two and half ounces of vodka with a dash of simple syrup and add a lemon twist garnish. That makes the perfect Lemon Drop Martini.

We also served pomegranate martinis. I like to say I invented the pomegranate cosmo when I was bar manager at Frascati, but I’m sure about 10,000 other bartenders were also inventing it around the same time. There are different recipes, but I like to use Pom juice, and not pomegranate infused vodka. I like to use fresh ingredients rather than any infused liquor. I use two and half ouces of vodka, and ounce of Pom juice, and a dash of lime juice. The drink has a nice tart taste and is not too sweet.

I also made what I called “make shift margaritas” with tequila,  the fresh lemon juice and Rose’s lime and people loved them. I like working with fresh ingredients and will try to do more of that. Tonight, I’m off to a birthday party in San Clemente, and then next weekend I will do a Fourth of July party and a wedding in Orange County.

Welcome to Beverly Hills

Welcome to Beverly Hills

Beverly Hills Backyard Bar

Beverly Hills Backyard Bar

Moroccan themed party

Moroccan themed party

Hollywood Engagement Party and Stevenson Ranch Cocktail Party

6 Apr

April 5th was a busy day for Shaken Not Stirred. We had an engagement party in Hollywood, which was the second in a two part series, as we did the first one in Chatsworth awhile back. Two twins are going to be married and I was a glad to be a part of both of their engagement parties, and hopefully will be present at their weddings. Both of the girls, their finances, and their parents couldn’t be nicer people.

I brought two servers and a barback with me to the engagement party. The servers were there to just make sure plates and cups and bottles were kept cleaned up. They had a pizza truck come with a portable woodfired oven and make pizzas. I didn’t get the company’s name, but will try to get it and ad it later.  There were about 85 people at the party and it went on until 2:00 am. I served pink grapefruit martinis, cosmos, and margaritas. Coronas and St. Archer were the beers of choice.

Meanwhile, at Stevenson Ranch, I had another bartender, Jessica on the scene to do a cocktail party. I double booked that date but everything turned out great. I don’t know a lot of the details, but I guess there were a lot of kids at the party, and Jessica made a selection of virgin drinks for them. She is a very dependable and competent bartender. Dependability is 90 percent in this business. I have never cancelled or been late to an event, and in fact it is my policy to arrive ½ hour early to set up at no extra charge.

Next weekend I am doing a birthday party in El Monte, then another birthday party on Thursday in Woodland hills. I have a big wedding in Valencia later this month and am taking extra staff with me on that one. I have some dates booked in May and am doing a wedding in Fillmore, where I have never gone before. I have other dates booked in June, and as far out as September, but so far July is wide open and I hope to start filling that month up. I would like to do some reunions and pool parties and a Forth of July party

Back yard engagement party bar

Back yard engagement party bar

My crew in Hollywood

My crew in Hollywood

Hollywood engagement party heating up

Hollywood engagement party heating up

. It’s going to be a hot summer! You can now follow me on Twitter.

Santa Barbara Christmas Party

22 Dec

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.

December Sunset in Santa Barbara

December Sunset in Santa Barbara

That's me manning the fort

That’s me manning the fort

sbparty2

What it looks like behind the bar