Tag Archives: New Year’s Eve

Shaken Not Stirred Shows up Strong for 2017 Holiday Season

29 Dec
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Venice Corporate Event

Shaken Not Stirred had its best holiday season to date and so far in December we have completed 21 events, with two parties still to go. When I first started doing this blog, I would write one blog post for every event I did and that has gotten harder and harder to do as I do multiple events in one week. It has a been a hectic season, and I am a little relieved that it is over, but as far as I know, all of our clients were happy and there were no major problems.

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My son bartending in Hollywood

My goal this year for the month of December was that I would save as many dates as possible for repeat customers and referrals. For the most part I did that. I had great repeat customers book parties in Valley Village, Hollywood, Venice, San Clemente, Silver Lake, Van Nuys, Reseda, Santa Monica, and Simi Valley. I didn’t have to travel too far, with San Clemente being the furthest I went during the month of December. I picked up some great new clients in Simi Valley, Hermosa Beach, Santa Clarita, and Moorpark. I am probably forgetting someone, but will remember them later.

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Casino themed holiday party 

I had multiple bartenders, including, Tanner, Edie, Matt, Melanie, Thomas, and Will helping me. Some of the bartenders went out and completed gigs on their own and I got great feedback from all of my clients. We literally served thousands of cocktails over the course of the month. We went through gallons and gallons of vodka, whiskey, and tequila. We emptied cases and cases of wine and beer.

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Reseda Christmas party

Highlights included the big casino night in Venice, the annual Christmas party in Hollywood for the Better Call Saul production company, the Spacex launch, and numerous wonderful home parties, food, drink, and music. I sampled all kinds of fantastic food, from tacos, prime rib, pork belly, steaks, and many ethnic delicacies.

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Venice Christmas Party

This weekend marks the final chapter for Shaken Not Stirred in 2017. Saturday I will drive to Huntington Beach to bartend a 40th birthday party/whiskey tasting. On Sunday, I get to stay in the San Fernando Valley for New Year’s Eve – I will be doing a NYE party in Sherman Oaks. Looking forward to a great New Year and already have several dates booked in January, February, and March.

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Simi Valley Christmas Party

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SpaceX test over Moorpark

Los Angeles Bartender for Hire Services Three Parties During NYE Weekend

2 Jan

Los Angeles bartender for hire Shaken Not Stirred provided bar service at three big Los Angeles parties during the transition period into 2017. I served literally thousands of drinks over the three day period and met hundreds of new people.

Sherman Oaks Surprise Birthday Party

Friday I didn’t have to travel far to bartend a 50th surprise birthday party in Sherman Oaks. It was a potentially cold and rainy night and the rain threatened to ruin the backyard party, but luckily it only sprinkled a bit during the party. The birthday girl was genuinely surprised. I served margaritas and apple martinis to 50 or so guests. They had a taco cart on hand and I’m sorry I can’t find the guys card or I would have included him here, but he served great tacos.

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Taco cart in action at Sherman Oaks

The host commented that this was probably a boring party for me, because they weren’t really a hard drinking crowd. I didn’t mind at all because I knew I was going to work my ass off at the New Year’s Eve party the following night and that turned out to be true. The Sherman Oaks surprise birthday party was a perfect warm up for the whole weekend, and I was very happy to do it.

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Birthday Girl blows out candles

Downtown LA New Year’s Eve Party

The NYE bash that I bartended was held in a warehouse in a gritty section of downton Los Angeles close to Skid Row. I drove through Skid Row on my way to the location and it was raining. The conditions are beyond deplorable down there, and it is hard to believe places like that exist in the USA. I pulled up in front of the warehouse early and there was nobody around. I was curious as to what kind of setup there would be there. It just looked like a produce warehouse on the outside. Finally someone showed up and opened the big doors and I could see curtains hanging inside the warehouse and tables. A taco cart vendor, Tacos Estilo Michoacan, arrived about the same time and started setting up outside.

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Downtown LA warehouse where party was held

I went in a started setting up. They had cases and cases of beer, several handles of vodka, tequila, Jameson, Jack Daniels, and cases and cases of mixers. Shortly, the other bartender, aubrey arrived and it was my first time working with her. We spent two hours setting up and it took us all of that to get ready for 150 guests to arrive.

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Bartender Aubrey waiting for action to start

People started filtering in and soon we were hit with waves and waves of people. We handled it well, and the only mishap of the evening was when a patron bumped into the bar and knocked over several full bottles of liquor. They shattered all over the floor and flooded the back of the bar with booze and broken glass. I scrambled to clean the mess up and was careful not to cut myself and the shards of broken bottles. We got through it, and continued pouring drinks until two in the morning. Santiago y su Groupo, a sixteen piece latin band provided live music and they were fantastic. The taco cart operated until 1am and I had a second helping of tacos around that time, which really hit the spot. We cleaned up the bar area and were out of there by 2:30 am in 2017.

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Happy New Year!

Bartender for Hire in Los Angeles

  • Provides portable bar if needed
  • Knows how to make a myriad of cocktails
  • Helps provide a drink menu and shopping list
  • Can provide multiple bartenders
  • Is ABC certified

Pre Rose Bowl/50th Birthday Party in Manhattan Beach

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Portable bar setup in Manhattan Beach

On Sunday, the Los angeles bartender for hire (me) went to Manhatten Beach to bartend a 50th birthday party/ Pre Rose Bowl party in Manhattan Beach. The birthday girl happened to be an alumni of Penn State, and Penn State happens to be playing against USC in the Rose Bowl this year. She had invited many Penn State alumni who have traveled here for the Rose Bowl. They were in town to party.

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Shots!

This party turned into a rager. DJ Logik provided the tunes, and people were break dancing and singing out loud at the top of their lungs. I was hustling, serving close to 100 people by myself. I served my spicy jalapeno margarita, which was once again, a hit. I heard one woman say, “These margaritas are so much better than the ones we had last night,” which made me feel good. Soho Taco served the food, and I have worked with them before at other events.
January looks pretty light so far for Shaken Not Stirred. I have events scheduled for Redondo Beach and San Marcos later this month, and I am sure I will pick up some more business before it is all over. January is generally a slow month as people are all partied out after the holiday season. There will likely be a few corporate events and birthday parties. Please follow us on Facebook if you haven’t done so already.

Private Bartender at La Canada Christmas Party

22 Dec
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Private bartender selfie

 

Last night, for the third year in a row I served as the private bartender for a company Christmas party at a very nice home in La Canada. The host is a very successful real estate agent in the area and has a fantastic home for entertaining. He has a very nice little bar inside the house, and he has a great one outside as well, where we hold parties in the summer.

About 90 guests were in attendance and I served drinks that had real estate terms for names like the “Pocket Listing,” “Multiple Offers,” and “Just Sold.” I made my spicy jalapeno margarita mix and that was a hit as it usually is. I also served a lot of Johnny Walker Black, and made a holiday cranberry Old Fashioned. As a private bartender I have manned the bar at over 400 events, so by now I am comfortable behind any bar.

I can make a variety of cocktails with a few simple mixers. It is always good to have cranberry juice, pineapple juice, lime juice, Coke, Diet Coke, Seven Up, and bitters. For garnishes it is good to have limes, lemons, cherries, and olives. Mint, oranges, cranberries, cucumbers, and other garnishes are usually for specialty drinks. As a private bartender, I consult with hosts about the drink menu and shopping list. I can do all the shopping also, but charge an extra fee for that.

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La Canada on a cloudy day

Advantages of Hiring a Private Bartender

  • The hosts can enjoy themselves at the party
  • Bartender makes consistently good drinks
  • Guests are impressed
  • Bartender can monitor guests intoxication level
  • Host saves money on shopping list

Unless I book something else next week, this was my last holiday party of the season until New Year’s Eve. I am booked for NYE at a warehouse party in Downtown LA that should be interesting. On New Year’s Day I will return to Manhattan Beach to provide bartending service for a pre Rose Bowl/birthday party. I think 2017 is going to be a record year for Shaken Not Stirred, and look forward to serving many of my repeat customers and gaining a bunch of new ones.

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Shots!

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Hollywood Holiday Party

12 Dec
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Bartender Mia at Hollywood Holiday Party

Wednesday night I returned to Hollywood to provide bartending service for a holiday party of a very successful production company. I did the bar catering last year and was very happy to return. I brought another bartender with me and we served approximately 250 thirsty people. I set up two portable bars side by side and we went to town slinging drinks.

The hosts requested a specialty drink that required rosemary simple syrup. I volunteered to make the simple syrup, because I like the challenge of doing that. I can infuse almost any herb, fruit, or vegetable into simple syrup, and have done cucumber, peppercorn, ginger, and now rosemary. The drink they created was called the 1936 Cocktail and it consisted of Tito’s vodka, grapefruit juice, rosemary simple syrup, and dash of club soda. The drink was a big hit.

Papa Christo’s of Los Angeles provided the catering and they put out some excellent Greek food for the hungry partiers. We also served four different beers, red and white wines and various mixed drinks. I had helped the host with a shopping list and we went through most of it by the end.

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Crowd at Hollywood Holiday Party

Holiday Party Ideas

  • Hire a bartending service
  • Choose a theme
  • Book it plenty early
  • Keep the music playing
  • Have a raffle

This holiday season I have had to hire more bartenders to help out with the demand. Every year in December there are always parties on Friday and Saturday nights, and more during the week, especially during the first three weeks of the month. Luckily, I have been able to accommodate all of me good customers. So far, I am still available for New Year’s Eve – the last holiday party of the year. Call me today!

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Orange County Christmas Party

5 Dec
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Christmas Bar Display in Villa Park

Saturday, Shaken Not Stirred traveled to Villa Park to bartend an Orange County Christmas party – the first of the season. I have been to this house several times before and they throw great parties. The host usually chooses a theme for the party and rents some great party props. When I pulled up to the house this time, I thought I was at the wrong place, because there wasn’t a full Santa and reindeer getup in the front yard. They had the back yard decorated very nicely however.

This house has the best backyard bar and pool setup I have seen at any property I have worked at. I was surprised that on the third of December that they had actually hired a lifeguard and all of the kids went swimming. The pool was at a balmy 90 degrees and the jacuzzi was set at 100. There are not many places in the continental USA where you can have a pool party in December, but Orange County is one of them.

They had several rented patio heaters for the party and my job was to light them. I used to have nightmares about patio heaters when I worked at a restaurant in Redondo Beach, because they are almost always a pain in the ass. The trick is to follow the direction precisely. It has taken me years to learn that, and maybe I can apply that wisdom to other areas of my life. Anyway, I felt quite proud of myself that I was able to light all 8 patio heaters.

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Orange County backyard bar

Orange County Christmas Season

  • Pool parties in December
  • Cruise of Lights in Huntington Harbor
  • Disney Holiday Lights
  • Christmas Boat Parade
  • Fiesta Navidad

The hosts in Villa Park not only have a fantastic bar, but a great selection of top shelf liquor. I was able to fulfill almost every request and made Lemon Drops, Moscow and Kentucky Mules, Dark and Stormy, Cuba Libres, and Old Fashioneds, among others. This Christmas party was for some parents and their kids that belong to an organization called.

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Orange County Barflies

The party was held for the parents of an Orange County organization where fathers can take their sons and daughters on camping trips and other activities. It sounds like a wonderful organization, and I’m sorry I can’t remember the name of it right now. There are separate organizations for boys and girls. It looks like the one for girls in Orange County is called the Orange Spirit Nation. It is designed for fathers that work a lot to bond with their sons and daughters during organized camping trips and activities. They also make great friends with the other parents. I wish I would have done more of that kind of thing when my kids were younger.

Irvine Surprise Birthday Party

28 Nov
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First rainbow of the season over East LA

Saturday I drove to Irvine to providing bartending service for a surprise birthday party. It was raining pretty hard that morning and was one of the biggest rains of the season yet, so I left plenty early. I hate being late, and I think I have only been late once in over 300 events I have done, and I was 15 minutes late due to traffic. Going to Orange County from LA can be problematic, especially on the 5 freeway. On Saturday, I made it in plenty of time.

The occasion was a surprise 60th birthday party and it was held at the birthday girl’s home, unknown to her. I arrived an hour early to set up and family members were rushing around trying to get the house ready. They were nervous, because guests were trickling in slowly and they were afraid the birthday girl would arrive home before most of the guests arrived. They were able to stall her somehow, and nearly 100 guests arrived to genuinely surprise her.   

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Guests gather at surprise birthday party

I had my portable bar setup in a room off the kitchen. I served Moscow Mules and Margaritas. I told the host to buy enough alcohol for 100 people, but there weren’t a lot of drinkers. Many of the guests only wanted water. I usually make shopping list assuming that there will be alot of heavy drinkers, and often there are. The good thing about extra liquor is that it doesn’t expire or go bad.

Surprise Birthday Party Ideas

  • Hire a bartender
  • Choose a theme
  • Keep the secret
  • Serve great food

I told the host that anybody who gets a surprise birthday party is truly blessed – not everybody gets one. I have never had one thrown in my honor. At this Irvine surprise birthday party, the guest of honor was totally surprised and grateful. Her niece had done much of the planning and had created a cool video to congratulate her aunt and show her appreciation. Traditional Indian food was served.

This coming weekend I will be returning to Orange County to bartend a holiday party in Villa Park. Another bartender will be going to Valley Village to bartend another holiday party on behalf of Shaken Not Stirred. December is usually my busiest month and it is shaping up that way this year too. New Year’s Eve is still available, so it will be interesting to see where I will end up this year. 

Post Xmas Cocktail Party in Fontana

28 Dec
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Portable bar and table in Fontana

Saturday afternoon, I was sitting home with no bartending jobs scheduled until New Year’s Eve, when I got a call to bartend a cocktail party in Fontana, two days after Christmas. I live in the San Fernando Valley and Fontana (Inland Empire) is about 60 miles away, so I had to jump into action to get to the party on time. I was glad to get the job, because even though I have been very busy this holiday season, January is not looking so hot so far.

I made a quick shopping list for the host and emailed it to her. Most of the events I do involve way more planning than this, but last minute parties can still be successful. We didn’t really have time to plan any elaborate specialty drinks, but I have done enough parties to know what supplies are needed for a specific number of guests. I can guess pretty accurately how much ice, how many cups, how many bottles of wine, etc. will be needed. I have said many times, do not hesitate to call me last minute if you need a bartender.

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Hosts and guests enjoy Fontana cocktail party

I arrived in Fontana on time and set up my portable bar and table in the corner of the kitchen. The portable bar is three feet wide and the table is four feet long, so I roughly need a fifteen feet square foot area for my portable bar. I usually only charge $25 for the portable bar, because it is nothing fancy, but it serves its purpose, and I have used it on rooftops in Beverly Hills, and near the docks in Wilmington.

Cocktail Party Occasions

  • House Warming
    Celebrate a promotion
    Grand Openings
    Going away parties
    Client appreciation

The Fontana cocktail party was slow to get going, but had a big finish. Guests trickled in – after all it was the Saturday after Christmas, and most people in Southern California have at that point been going to various functions all month. The host had a beautiful grand player piano that certainly added a bit of class to the party, rather than the usual Pandora selections. It was if we had a concert pianist on hand for the party. I served wine, a few margaritas, and some vodka drinks. I think everybody had a great time, and it was a successful last minute cocktail party.

My next party scheduled for Shaken Not Stirred is on New Year’s Eve in Sherman Oaks, very close to home. I will be doing several prohibition era cocktails for that party. Last year I bartended a New Year’s Day party, which I got last minute, so maybe I will get another this year. January is pretty open, so please call me if you are planning a birthday party, wedding, or any kind of event in January.

Culver City Wedding and Tarzana Baptism Celebration

19 Oct
Outside bar at Big Daddy's Antiques

Outside bar at Big Daddy’s Antiques

Shaken Not Stirred stayed close to home this weekend and worked a wedding party in Culver City Saturday night, and then on Sunday bartended a baptism party in Tarzana.  Both events went very well, and that was due to planning and preparation.  Once again, I was reminded that all kinds of problems can be avoided when I show up plenty early.

The wedding party in Culver City was held at Big Daddy’s Antiques. It is a real antique store that is full of all kinds of cool stuff. I bartended another event in Santa Barbara at a similar type of place. There are so many cool things there, but most of the items at Big Daddy’s are the huge and made of stone, so not easily breakable.  I had a crew with me – one more bartender and two bar backs. I’m sorry that I didn’t get many pictures I was so busy.

Nikki and Pia working the inside bar at Big Daddy's

Nikki and Pia working the inside bar at Big Daddy’s

When I arrived at Big Daddy’s I found out we would be working with two separate bars, which I was not previously aware of. That was not a problem, because I arrived early enough to call my other bartender to pick up some extra supplies that we needed. I brought 8 20 lb bags of ice, which we discovered as the party went on, that we needed more. I sent one of the barbacks out for 4 more bags, which was enough.

The bride and I had conversed several times planning the event. We made a specialty cocktail that was a hit. It is called the Flamingo, and it is made with muddled cucumber and mint, watermelon juice and vodka. My crew, Nikki, Pia, and Maria all did an excellent job and was proud of all of them. I think the bride and groom were very happy also.

On Sunday I traveled to the hills of Tarzana to bartend a baptism party. This is a second such party I have done recently. One very cool thing happened – I saw a photographer, Mark Cano,  working the party who I had seen at another party. It turns out he was hired because I had linked him to this blog.  I link caterers, Dj’s and all kinds of vendors to this blog, and this was the first time I heard about somebody being actually hired. Very cool.

The hills of Tarzana

The hills of Tarzana

I served Moscow Mules, which have become very popular lately, Mojitos, and variation of drinks. I poured a lot of shots, and the shot of choice was Pineapple Ciroc. They served traditional Filipino food that was excellent. It was a perfect day for a party as the weather has finally cooled down in the San Fernando Valley.

Shots on the assembly line

Shots on the assembly line

Shots!

Shots!

Next weekend I will travel back to Coachella to the Corona Yacht Club to bartend another wedding with my associate Mia Martini. I have already booked a New Year’s Eve party in Los Angeles, and have booked a few other holiday parties, but still have many dates available in December.

Two Nights, Two Holiday Parties, One Bartender in La Canada

19 Dec
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La Canada, California in December

As the Holiday season heats up, I was the bartender on hand at two weekday holiday parties at a spectacular residence in La Canada. I had bartended at the house before and was pleasantly surprised when they called me to bartend their back to back holiday parties. The first party, on Wednesday night was a school fundraiser, Christmas sweater party for about 40 ladies. The second party was a client appreciation holiday party and was attended by around 70 guests.

Christmas sweater competition

Christmas sweater competition

We had the same specialty drinks two nights in a row, but just changed the names to reflect the event. My new specialty drink, “Santa’s Syrup,” was dubbed “Closed Escrow” at the Thursday night party. It is made with bourbon, ginger syrup, club soda, and a dash of bitters. The drink was so popular that we ran out of Jack Daniels.  I substituted Hennesy, and I heard people say that was even better. The home made ginger syrup mixes well with everything, and one of the other specialty drinks was made with tequila, ginger syrup, and fresh lime juice. The liquor flowed in La Canada, and everyone seemed to have a good time.

"Closed Escrow" cocktail

“Closed Escrow” cocktail

This was one example of a party that I was called for on the last minute and I love it. I will do events tomorrow all day long if you call me tonight. Speaking of tomorrow, I am traveling to Corona to bartend a surprise 40th birthday party. The host has been very anxious trying to arrange everything just right and not spoil the surprise. I hope everything meets her expectations.

Speaking of expectations, I find myself getting a bit of stage fright leading up to an event. I anticipate many things that could go wrong. I think that anxiety is somewhat healthy and keeps me sharp so that I am super prepared. Bartending isn’t brain surgery, and being prepared and on time is ninety percent of it. So far I have a perfect track record on those two things.

Holiday party bar

Holiday party bar

Los Angeles Bartender Available New Year’s Eve.

I still have New Year’s Eve open and it is kind of my fault. I assumed I had a party, but should have checked in about it a month ago. The people who said that they would want me, are not having their party this year. So, I passed up other offers, thinking that was in the bag. Totally my fault, but I am positive I will get something and am excited to see where this year will take me. Could be anywhere in Southern California. I’m looking forward to another great year with Shaken Not Stirred.

Redondo Beach Holiday Office Party

12 Dec
The Esplanade before the storm

The Esplanade before the storm

Shaken not Stirred returned to the old stomping grounds in South Redondo Beach to bartend a holiday office party on Thursday night two weeks before Christmas. The office was just a hop skip in and jump from the location of the old Frascati Ristorante where I was the bar manager, and just down the hill from Le Rive Gauche, where I worked off and on for years. I have a lot of history in the area, good and bad, and it is always bittersweet to go back there.

The people in the South Bay are usually drinkers, and the host and I loaded for bear. The host had a favorite shot concoction called the Oatmeal Cookie shot, and I made a pitcher of them. The shot is made with butterscotch schnapps, cinnamon schnapps, Bailey’s, and Jaegermeister. They say it tastes just like an oatmeal cookie. Several people tried it and liked it, but this was not the hard drinking crowd I remember from Redondo Beach. The crowd was pretty mellow, maybe because it was a Thursday night, or maybe because the biggest storm in a long time was rolling into Socal, and they were worried about getting home.

Pitcher of Oatmeal Cookie shots

Pitcher of Oatmeal Cookie shots

I served Blue Moons, Coor light, Stellas, and Pacificos. Good old Kendal Jackson chardonnay was the wine of choice (I once dated a woman who bought that by the case). We also served 14 hands Cabernet, which they say is a very nice wine. I made whiskey sours, grey hounds, gin and tonics, and Cuba Libres. Ws China Bistro of Redondo provided the food.  It was a very nice event for the employees and clients of the firm.

Today I have nothing scheduled, but have a large backyard holiday party in Valley Village tomorrow, and then another company Christmas party in Downey on Sunday. The rains have stopped and hopefully they will stay stopped long enough for me to bartend these two weekend backyard parties. Where else in America can you host backyard parties in late December, but southern California. Next weekend I go back to Orange County for a Christmas party in Corona.

I thought I had a New Year’s Eve party booked, but that fell through and am still open for that one. I know I will get something, and it will be interesting to see where in Southern California Shaken Not Stirred brings in 2015 at.

Shots!

Shots!