Last weekend I traveled to Palm Springs to bartend a 40th birthday party at the boutique Wesley Hotel. The host had rented the entire hotel for the occasion and invited 40 of his friends to celebrate his wife’s birthday. The weather was perfect for a barbecue and pool party and I think everyone had a great time.
The host wanted somebody to grill hamburgers and hotdogs, and I recruited one of my bartenders, Josh who lives out there to do it. I was a little worried about it, because even though I have grilled steaks for a group of 15 ladies at a bachelorette party, this was a much bigger affair. Josh pulled it off and did an excellent job.
I recommended a DJ who I had worked with before, Play It Again Socal, out of Riverside. The noise ordinances are very strict in Palm Springs, and I was sure that somebody would complain and the cops would shut the music down. Fortunately, that never happened, and I think it is because the Wesley Hotel is away from residential areas.
40th Birthday Party Ideas
Rent an entire hotel and invite your closest friends
Hire a bartender and griller
Have a DJ
Serve good drinks and food
One cop did show up though, but he turned out to be a male stripper. He had me fooled for a minute there. I served Pina Coladas, Spicy Jalapeno Margaritas, Cucumber Moscow Mules, and a bunch of shots and beers. Josh served all of the burgers there were and a ton of hotdogs. I will be returning to Palm Springs again this weekend to bartend a wedding at the La Chureya Estate. Later on this month I have gigs in Brentwood, Corona, and sky Valley among others. Please follow us on Instagram.
Event Bartender company, Shaken Not Stirred had a record week leading into Labor Day, completing seven big events in three Southern California Counties. I myself worked six of the events and I sent another bartender to do another one for a repeat customer.
I drove to Burbank to do a very special event for a television production company. The show, “Catfish,” on MTV has had seven successful seasons, but one of the show’s top hosts is moving on to other endeavors, so it was a going away party for him. I made margaritas and served beer and wine, while the cast and crew watched the final episode with Max Joseph. I avoided a near disaster when I noticed my table with several bottles on it was about to collapse. I caught it just in time and a caterer walking by helped me. It would have been a major disaster if that table collapsed right during the screening. Needless to say, that table is being retired.
I drove to a funky little venue in Highland Park called 6408 Ruby Street to bartend a wedding. The Ruby Street venue is a former church and a historic building in Los Angeles. I had a trainee meet me there and she was a lot of help. We served two different specialty drinks, and beer and wine to the guests. We don’t get many weddings on Thursdays, but we welcome them. On the same night I sent another event bartender, Melanie, to do a corporate event in West Hollywood.
I drove to Orange County, to Lake Forest to bartend a 70th birthday party. It was held at a very nice community clubhouse, and I set up my portable bar outside. The weather was perfect and there was a cool breeze blowing. They had a live band and friends and family members poured in. When it comes to a 70th birthday party, many of the people have been friends for decades. Everyone had a nice time. I stayed a hotel in Irvine because I had to be in Joshua Tree the next day for another wedding.
I drove from Orange County to Joshua Tree to do a wedding at a cool little venue called the Mohave Sands Motel – it was my second time there. Another event bartender, actually named Joshua lives out there and he helped me. Once again, the weather was perfect and we served approximately 75 guests throughout the evening. I got up the next morning and had to drive back to North Hollywood to do a Quinceanera. There was a bad accident on the 10 Freeway, and the trip took me four hours.
I met another bartender who works for me, Edie, at the Memories Banquet Hall in North Hollywood to bartend the Quinceanera. There were over 100 guests. We served Palomas and other classic drinks until midnight. Luckily, the venue was only minutes from my home. I had served hundreds of drinks by this point.
Monday, Labor Day:
My final event of the holiday weekend was held at a rental house on Mulholland Drive overlooking the San Fernando Valley. An online company was having a Labor Day pool party for their influencers and investors. I set up my portable bar by the pool and served drinks throughout the afternoon and evening. Once again, the weather was perfect. This is my favorite time of the year. I finished at 9 pm and my event bartender marathon was a complete, and I think a total success. This coming weekend I have events in Indio, Hawthorne, and Venice Beach. Follow us on Instagram.
Palm Springs is probably the pool party capital of the world, and there are rental houses all over that town devoted to that. Last Saturday, Shaken Not Stirred was in the house making cocktails for the host’s 40th birthday party at the Palm Springs party pad. This particular home is a six bedroom place with a very nice pool and outdoor bar.
New ordinances in Palm Springs ban outdoor music, which is kind of a buzz kill. Also, after 9pm guests can not make noise in the pool area. The hard partying ways of the old Palm Springs are a thing of the past with these new ordinances. I saw the signs posted near the bar area and I thought, what a bummer – regulations that limit fun? However, as the day went on, I kind of liked it – we are exposed to so much noise pollution all the time, it was kind of nice to just listen to the wind rustling through the trees.
I set up the bar out by the pool, and made several specialty drinks for the guests. I served my Spicy Jalapeno Margaritas, Cucumber Mint Gin and Tonics, Moscow Mules, Pimm’s Cup, and Manhattans. I also served different non alcoholic drinks for some of the guests. It was pretty windy, but not too hot. A great day for a pool party. When I bartend pool parties, I don’t just stand behind the bar and wait for guests to come to me. I take drink orders poolside.
Palm Springs Pool Party Ideas
Hire a bartender
Use only plastic cups
Get some interesting floaties
Keep the music inside your head
Some of the guests surprised the birthday boy with a balloon vendor. Baloony Tunes of Cathedral City came and setup a balloon arch for photo ops. Like I said, it was fairly windy, so that presented a problem for the balloon display, but it lasted long enough for the guests to get some cool photos. As I was finishing up for the day a private chef, Sarena Nelson was preparing the big birthday dinner. She looks very talented and hopefully I will work with her again.
This weekend I get to stay close to home and will be bartending a private event in Westwood. I have other events in the LA area later this month. Next month will be very busy with graduation parties, weddings, and birthday parties. Please follow us on Instagram.
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.
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
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.
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.
Saturday I was honored to bartend for a 10th Anniversary party for some of my best clients. I have provided bartending services for this couple at least a dozen times at business related cocktail parties, film premiers, and wrap parties. This was the first personal type party that they hired me for and it was their biggest party to date.
Over 100 guests, including children drifted in and out during the four hour event. I served a lot of drinks very quickly. We had two specialty drinks including a Blackberry Mint Moscow Mule, and a Watermelon Cucumber Vodka cooler. I am able to make these labor intensive drinks for large groups of people because I make batches of several drinks at a time. I served out of the Moscow Mule toward the end of the party and was almost out of the Watermelon drink at the end.
They have a pool in the backyard and hired a lifeguard to watch the kids, which is a great idea. I did another party recently where there were many kids swimming and no lifeguard. It only takes a few minutes for a tragedy to happen. Especially at a large party where alcohol is being served.
10th Anniversary Party Ideas
Hire a bartender
Invite friends and extended family
Renewal of vows
Ella Freyinger provided the catering and she did a fantastic job, as always. I have worked with her before. This time they had barbecue chicken, tri tip, hotdogs and hamburgers for the kids, and a whole variety of summer side dishes, appetizers, and desserts. There was plenty of food and friends and family attended the 10th anniversary party from around the country.
I have a wedding coming up next weekend in Lancaster, but that is the only thing I have scheduled for this week. I was thinking that it is kind of slow, and I checked my schedule for last year around this time. Actually it was even slower for Shaken Not Stirred last year. It will pick up soon enough because before you know it the holiday season will be here. I have already booked some parties in October, November, and December, and have had inquiries for New Year’s Eve. and January. It is never too early to book your holiday parties. I am starting with a new booking service, and they say they will book me more work than I know what to do with six months in advance. I may have to hire some more bartenders.
On Saturday, Shaken Not Stirred provided bartending service for a wedding at the Owl Creek Farm south of Hemet. This was my first time working at the venue, and I hope to go back there again. I talked to the manager, Tommy, and he said that they do weddings there every weekend. The Owl Creek Farm is very rustic and is basically in the middle of nowhere, so you don’t have to worry about making too much noise.
The bride booked me over a year ago. I normally don’t try to get events that far in advance, but I bid on the wedding thinking it was in 2015, but it was actually 2016. So we had been emailing back and forth for a long time planning this wedding. When the event date finally approached, I was nervous, thinking that I was going to forget something important. Everything worked out just fine.
The bride wanted a Blood Orange Mojito as the signature drink. She gave me the recipe and I stuck to it. Mojitos are labor intensive to make for large crowds, but I know how to make large batches of them. That is what I did here, and I premade a few during the wedding ceremony, so that people could just grab them as soon as the ceremony was over. The bride and the groom made home brews for the wedding. They had four different kinds, and their IPA kept exploding when you opened them. I guess that is something to think about when working with home brews in the bottle.
Events at Owl Creek Farm
Plenty of parking
Great photo backdrops
Hire a bartender
The DJ was a very nice guy and he was also hired over one year prior. He was out of Temecula and also has a classic rock cover band. You can contact him at highland-flashoverband.com. The wedding had a Rockabilly theme and all of the bridesmaids and groomsmen were dressed accordingly, as were many of the guests.
This coming weekend I will travel to Palm Springs to bartend a pool party, and then a Second of July party in Orange County, and am negotiations to do third of July and Fourth of July parties. I am also negotiating to do a large wedding in Solvang later in July, and have found a company to buy one day event insurance from, so I hope that works out.
Saturday, Shaken Not Stirred traveled to Encinitas in San Diego County to bartend a pool party. I don’t normally try to book much work in San Diego because it can be difficult getting in and out of there. Last week I had business in San Marcos, so it made sense to take this pool party in Encinitas. I’m glad I did – it was worth it to me and I hope the clients will call me again. They gave me another 5 star review on Thumbtack, so I guess they were happy as well.
Speaking of Thumbtack, I was chosen the #1 Bar Caterer in Los Angeles by the website, based on my reviews. I’m proud of this accomplishment, and I also realize there are probably more accomplished bartenders than me. I don’t call myself a mixologist, because I believe that bartending is not brain surgery. I make good drinks, and I think the key to good drinks is simplicity. I believe the biggest reason I have gotten all 5 star review is that I show up early every time. That way I have time to prepare properly, which is 90 percent of it. I cannot coast at this point and rest on my laurels – I have to work harder, because the competition in Los Angeles is tough. I think many other people suddenly got the idea that they would start their own bartending business also.
On Saturday, I was making simple drinks. I made blended margaritas and most of the people were drinking those. The client had a very nice blender, the Vita Mix, and it was very simple to use and made excellent blended drinks. I was responsible for bringing the ice and I brought 100 pounds and we used every bit of it. On hot summer days, probably better estimate 2 pounds of ice for each guest.
The client in Encinitas also hired a life guard, which I thought was an excellent idea when there are young children swimming. Rock star, Tommy Lee, had a child drown in his pool at a party a couple of years ago, and I’m sure that will haunt him forever. Taquizas El Unico of Chula Vista provided the catering and excellent tacos.
This weekend I will be bartending a rehearsal dinner in Temecula on Friday night, and then on Saturday I will be bartending a wedding at a clothing optional resort in Desert Hot Springs, which should be interesting. I asked the host what she wanted me to wear and she said, “Wear anything you want.” Decisions, decisions….
Labor Day Weekend was a big weekend for Shaken Not Stirred, as I bartended two big weddings and a very nice Labor Day party. The first wedding was Saturday night all the way in Coachella, 145 miles from Los Angeles. Then I returned to the San Fernando Valley to bartend a Sunday backyard wedding in Northridge. Finally, on Labor Day, I bartended a back yard pool party in Sherman Oaks, just a couple miles from my house.
The Coachella wedding was held at the Corona Yacht Club. I was wondering how there is a yacht club in the middle of the desert. As you drive up to entrance of the yacht club you realize it is a kind of desert oasis. It is situated on a 20 acre property and has a large lagoon in the middle of the property. When I arrived I was surprised that it wasn’t too hot for the desert in September. That changed as the day went on. It was blazing hot, even in the shade.
A couple of people even got sick and almost passed out from the heat. We served drinks to 120 guests and were plenty busy the entire night. We went through 400 pounds of ice, it was melting so fast in the extreme heat. CV BBQ of Cathedral City provided the catering. They had some of the best macaroni and cheese I have ever had, not to mention their excellent potato salad, and tri tip. I will be bartending another wedding at the Corona Yacht Club in October with my associate bartending service, Mia Martini.
On Sunday, I drove back to the San Fernando Valley to bartend a backyard wedding. I had booked the even so many months prior, I had forgotten it was a wedding, so I was surprised and felt foolish when I arrived and saw the whole wedding set up in the back yard. They had it set up very nice and the whole backyard looked as good as many expensive wedding venues I’ve worked.
I served about eighty guests and I served completely out of whiskey and vodka. I was serving a whiskey Arnold Palmer, which I deemed the John Daly. The drink was a big hit and contains equal parts bourbon, ice tea, and lemonade. Some of the guests had flown all the way from Korea to attend. Rib Ranch Barbecue of Woodland Hills provided catering, and once again I got to sample some excellent viddles, including ribs.
The last event of the weekend was a Labor Day pool party at a large estate in Sherman Oaks. A live 80’s cover band performed many great hits from the 80’s, including “Mustang Sally,” “Sweet Home Alabama,” and many others. This was the band’s debut in front of a live audience. I served Moscow Mules, Pina Colladas, and Mai Tais to the guests. It was a great was to round out the weekend. This coming weekend I have nothing scheduled, but am booked solid through October after that.
The Los Angeles private bartender service, Shaken Not Stirred provided bartending at four different events in LA last weekend. Thursday night there was a corporate event at a post production facility in Hollywood, then on Saturday, a 30th birthday party in Marina Dell Rey, and wrapping up the weekend was a surprise pool party in Culver City. This was a rare weekend when Shaken Not Stirred did not have to leave Los Angeles County.
I was hired by a party planner to do the corporate event in Hollywood. They had some special requests and wanted me to make a Jicama Cucumber margarita mix, which I had never done before. They gave me the recipe and I got it done, and I think the drink was a hit at the party. If you have a special request for any kind of mixer like this, please ask me. I will try to accommodate you.
I have now done several special events for production companies, studio executives, and television productions her in the Los Angeles area. I am starting to run into some of the same people over and over again. Of course, this is good for me, because I now have many references within the film and television community. Of course, we all know, it is “who you know,” in that industry. In fact, I had to send one of my other bartenders out to bartend a screening party in Century City for one of my best clients that same night.
On Saturday, I traveled to Marina Del Rey to bartend a 30th birthday party. They had the party at the community room overlooking the pool at their apartment building. It was a excellent place to hold the party and the weather was perfect. I took my daughter to be may cocktail waitress/server and she did an excellent job. I was very proud of her and I think the hosts were very happy with her service. I hope to take her with me on many more events.
On Sunday, I was the Los Angeles private bartender hired to service a surprise birthday party in Culver City. The host held this party at the pool in her apartment complex. Once again, this worked out quite nicely, even though it was very windy while we were setting up. The host was throwing a party in honor of her girlfriend’s big success with her Youtube Channel. She reached over 200,000 subscribers.
The girlfriend was quite pleasantly surprised and it was a great little party with approximately 20 guests. I made Pisco Sours, and the Brazilian favorite, Caipirinha. It was my first time making both of those drinks and I think they were a hit with the limited number of guests. Next weekend, so far I am only scheduled for Saturday night in the Inland Empire. I hope to pick up some corporate event, or perhaps a cocktail party on Friday night.
Last night Shaken Not Stirred was the bartending service on hand at a graduation party in Castaic. This was the second graduation party I have done this month, and I have realized that a graduation is something very worthy of a celebration. The graduates have worked hard and sacrificed for however many years, and are certainly deserving of a celebration of the highest order. In this case, the graduate the party was in honor of, graduated from USC in the accounting program.
I just realized something tonight as I was sitting in restaurant waiting for my meal. I saw a couple and I thought I recognized them. Maybe I even bartended their wedding. They were deep in conversation and I didn’t want to interrupt them. I felt a little sad, because I thought of all the weddings, birthday parties, graduations, and engagement parties I have done. All of the people start to blend together. I want to remember all of them, but it is hard.
I have said this before – the greatest thing about bartending private events is that I get to be present as people experience major milestones in their lives. People get married, have 40th birthday parties, have anniversary parties, house warming parties, retirement parties, and I am there pouring drinks through all of it.
Last night the Castaic graduation party was a perfect example of how cool it is. The graduate’s father got up and gave speech about how special it was for him to have a daughter, and how proud he was of her to follow him into his chosen profession. It was such a heartfelt speech, and couldn’t be duplicated in a movie. I have heard speech after speech like this.
Today, I am in a hotel room in Banning looking out the window at the mountains in the distance. The sun is shining now, but wasn’t all day and it was unseasonably cold for Southern California. I was supposed to bartend a pool party today in Palm Springs, but it was canceled due to bad weather. That is the first time this has happened. Maybe I should ask for a bigger deposit. I am not freaking out about it, because I know it is not the norm.
Next weekend I travel to Orange County to bartend a birthday party. I have several birthday parties, weddings, and graduation parties booked next month. Shaken Not Stirred is doing well bartending events all over Southern California.