Tag Archives: Porter Ranch

Five Holiday Parties in Five Days

22 Dec
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Tending bar in La Canada

Tis’ the season, and Shaken Not Stirred was busy last week bartending at five different holiday parties in five days. The holiday party season took me all over the San Fernando Valley, and to La Canada. On Tuesday I was called to do a last minute party in Encino when another bartender canceled, then on Wednesday and Thursday I bartended two back to back parties in La Canada, on Friday I bartended a party in Studio City, and then on Saturday I rounded out the week at a party in Porter Ranch. Needless to say, I made a lot of drinks.

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Martini waiting to go out

On Monday, I received a call from an associate of mine and she said someone she knew needed a bartender on Tuesday, because theirs cancelled last minute. I was happy to get the job, and so far in two years of business I have never cancelled a gig. The party was at a nice home in the hills of Encino and it was a company office party of around 16 people. I very mellow gig and I was very glad to help them. I made some Moscow Mules, Margaritas, and poured a few glasses of wine.

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School fundraiser in La Canada

Holiday Parties

  • Office Parties
    Fundraisers
    Christmas Parties
    Holiday cocktails
    Client appreciation parties

On Wednesday and Thursday I traveled to La Canada to the fabulous home of one of my best clients. He has his annual office Christmas party, and then his wife hosts a fundraiser for her children’s school the following night. Again, I served Moscow Mules, which are very popular right now. Some of the ladies requested a Mexican Mule, also known as a “Burro”, which substitutes tequila for vodka.

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Gamblers in Porter Ranch

On Friday, I went to Studio City to bartend a holiday party for a friend of mine. He had around sixty guests and I made Cranberry Old Fashioneds, and Moscow Mules. Red wine is also very popular as the weather turns colder, and I served several bottles of that. Many in the crowd were professional comedians, so it was a very fun group.

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Partiers in Studio City

On Saturday, I returned to Porter Ranch, to bartend for the third client in the same housing development. He had a real elaborate Christmas party planned, and he had a party planner, a caterer, servers, and casino tables. I poured martinis, Moscow Mules, and many scotch drinks. We used real glassware, which is always nice.

My next event so far is a New Year’s Eve party in Sherman Oaks, so not too far away. My daughter will be working that one with me, and I’ll be making some prohibition era cocktails, like The Last Word, Fleur di Paradis, Whiskey Sour, and Mint Juleps. It should be fun. I still have Christmas Eve open, and Saturday the 26th, if you need a bartender on those dates.

Los Angeles Bartending Service Kicks off the Holiday Season

9 Nov
Pia working the Gingerbread Boutique

Pia working the Gingerbread Boutique

Shaken Not Stirred, the Los Angeles bartending service kicked off the Holiday season last weekend with three big events. The official start of holiday events started Thursday, when we returned to Oak Park to bartend the annual Gingerbread Boutique, put on by the Westlake Village Junior Women’s Club.  On Saturday, we traveled to Lancaster to bartend a 40th birthday party for another repeat client, and then on Sunday we bartended a children’s birthday party in sunny Porter Ranch.

Busy Gingerbread Boutique in Oak Park

Busy Gingerbread Boutique in Oak Park

The annual Ginger Bread Boutique is a fundraiser and is held at Saint Maximillian Kolbe Church in Oak Park. Vendors from all over Los Angeles come and show their wares at the annual event. We served wine to almost 400 guests throughout the night.  I always love to events like this and hope to do it again next year. The gingerbread boutique is the official kick off for holiday events for Shaken Not Stirred.

Guests by the fire in Lancaster

Guests by the fire in Lancaster

On Saturday I drove to Lancaster to bartend a 40th birthday for a repeat client. I had bartended his birthday party a year earlier and he was happy with my service so he invited me back. I set up my portable bar in his backyard just like I had done before. They like to have several kinds of drinks out there, and I made Mojitos, Long Island Ice Teas, Margaritas, Kamakazies, Jaegar Bombs, and many others for this party. The weather changed drastically from what it has been, and the temperature in Lancaster dropped down to 33 degrees. Another reminder that  the holiday season has begun.

We had to break out the heaters

We had to break out the heaters

Los Angeles Bartending Service

  • Corporate Events
  • Birthday parties
  • Fundraisers
  • Weddings
  • Holiday parties
  • Screenings
  • Grand openings
  • Engagement parties

On Sunday I didn’t have to drive far to get to Porter Ranch and bartend a children’s birthday party. The kids were busy in a video game truck the host had rented, so I wasn’t making mocktails for them, but made adult cocktails for the adults. I made Cadillac Margaritas and the Madras was the second drink of choice. Barracho Tacos catered the party.  They had some fantastic homemade salsas, and made great tacos and quesadillas.  I booked another holiday party on the spot with one of the guests, and others said they would call.

Beautiful day in Porter Ranch

Beautiful day in Porter Ranch

Colorful salsas from Borracho Tacos

Colorful salsas from Borracho Tacos

Next weekend I will bartend two parties in the Los Angeles area. I will bartend an 80th birthday party in Venice during the day, then will travel to Glendale to do another birthday party at night. I have several company parties coming up later this month in Los Angeles, and as far away as Rancho Mirage.  I am starting to book many more parties closer to home, mostly as a result of my Yelp reviews.  Shaken Not Stirred is the Los Angeles bartending service that you can count on!

 

Altadena Surprise Party and Bakersfield Wedding

23 Jun
Getting "surprised"

Getting “surprised”

Friday started the weekend in Altadena for Shaken Not Stirred, where I traveled to bartend for a surprise party. The father hired me for his son’s 35th birthday surprise birthday, and it was martini themed party.  Friends and family gathered in the backyard, while the one of the birthday boy’s friends took him out to distract him long enough for us to get ready. I think he was truly surprised and overwhelmed when he did arrive.

I made Manhattans, dirty vodka martinis, gin martinis, and Lemon Drops. I brought my own martini glasses and they had several. It is always a pleasure for me to make martinis and serve them in real glassware. The presentation is just so much nicer. The birthday boy’s father manned the barbeque and made some killer trip tip.

Guests enjoying martinis in Altadena

Guests enjoying martinis in Altadena

For this job, I did all the shopping . It is a service I offer for a fee. I will buy everything you need, including all the alcohol, mixers, cups, straws, napkins and ice. I require an up front deposit for this, plus the service charge. People have trusted me with hundreds of dollars for this and I have never done them wrong. I have an excellent reputation and don’t want to jeopardize it one bit.

Saturday, I traveled to Bakersfield for my second wedding in Kern County. I also did the shopping for this wedding, and spent most of my day Saturday getting all the supplies together for a 100 person wedding. The wedding was held at the Junior League of Bakersfield. It is a historic building in downtown Bakersfield. I set up my portable bar in the corner of the dining room.

I served Mojitos, Margaritas, and various vodka drinks to the guests.  When serving Mojitos to a large crowd like this, I make a large batch, and serve them that way. I also get several drinks ready as the ceremony is taking place, so that when everybody rushes in afterward, I can make the line go fast. It is ideal to have a barback, but I handled the 100 person  Bakersfield wedding by myself just fine.

Junior League of Bakersfield wedding

Junior League of Bakersfield wedding

Everything went pretty well until the last five minutes, when friends and family were cleaning up the dining room. Some drama broke out among some of the guests outside. The bride looked at me and rolled her eyes, “We almost made it without something like that happening. We almost made it,” she said.  It seems that machismo and alcohol don’t always mix. Believe me, nobody knows that better than me. Kevin Rush was the DJ and he helped to diffuse the situation. I can see that he is a true pro and dealing with situations like that, and also did a very good job of DJing and running the wedding program for the night.

This weekend I have an engagement party in Porter Ranch, and then a Fourth of July party coming up in Orange County.  I still have a few dates open in July, so book your parties now.

Shots!

Shots!

Two Vegas Style Parties Back to Back

3 May
Outdoor bar at La Canada home

Outdoor bar at La Canada home

This was a busy weekend for Shaken Not Stirred – Friday night I bartended at a fundraiser/poker tournament at a private home in La Canada, and then on Saturday night was the hired mixologist at a Vegas themed birthday party in Porter Ranch. Two nights, two very fun and successful events.  The event industry is thriving in Los Angeles, and there are so many great services that make parties really spectacular.

The Friday night poker tournament in La Canada was hosted by one of my best client’s at his fantastic home.  Casinos in Motion had at least ten poker tables there and dealers. The money that was raised benefitted a private school. The tournament didn’t end until one am. We served completely out of Grey Goose, Patron, and Johnny Walker Black.

Saturday night, the party was a birthday party/fight night event. It was a joint 40th birthday party bash for the husband and wife who were hosting the party and it just happened to fall on the Mayweather/Paciao fight night. I must say, they did an excellent job preparing for this party. They had red carpets, velvet ropes, and elaborate lighting set up in the backyard overlooking the San Fernando Valley.  Aces N Eights provided the Blackjack Table and dealer for the event.

Blackjack table in Porter Ranch

Blackjack table in Porter Ranch

I was bartending by myself for approximately ninety guests and was very busy. I made my special Jalapeno Margaritas that were a big hit, Mai Tais, Moscow Mules, Dark and Stormys, and Lemon Drops.  I also served Stella Artois and Modelo Especial, prosseco, and wine. It seems that Modelo is becoming the most popular beer in LA, overtaking Corona. I think all the Mexican beers are made by the same company, and beer is one of Mexico’s number one export products.

Next weekend will be busy also, as I have a company party scheduled in Mission Viejo for Friday, and then a wedding reception in Santa Clarita the following night. I was bartending in my sleep last night I have poured so many drinks this week. I still have a couple of open dates later this month, which I’m sure I will fill quickly. It is the season for graduation parties, and I have seen  many inquiries for such parties this month.

Shots!

Shots!

Green Room Bartending and Wrap Party

1 May
Beautiful spring day in LA

Beautiful spring day in LA

Last night, Shaken not Stirred wrapped up a three part event at  a production facility in Los Angeles.  Last year, we bartended a screening event in Hollywood, and were contacted by the same people to do the  studio events. It was a great experience and unfortunately the show wrapped for now. Hopefully they will do more episodes in the future, and they will need bartending service again.

I set up a portable bar in the green room, which was a converted sound stage where they had put out lounge chairs and monitors for VIP guests to relax and watch the live taping. The show was a sketch comedy and was very funny. Always at live tapings, they have a comedian warm up the live audience and the guy they had was great. I also was able to watch the rehearsal on the monitors in the green room.

I bartended the first night, and then I had one of my other bartenders do the second night, because I was already booked on a birthday party. He showed up and did a great job. I was able to show up and help him out, just as he was wrapping up for the night. The crowds got larger at each event.  I hope to do more of this kind of business, and am currently talking to someone at one of networks to do a high end cocktail party.

Guests relax in green room during taping

Guests relax in green room during taping

Last night they had the wrap party after the tapings ended. I would guess that there were at least 150 people at the wrap party. I was very busy pouring wine and beer by myself, though they did bring in someone to help me near the end. I had six different types of beer and my biggest challenge was keeping them all cold with the limited coolers I had. We ended up with two cases of beer left over at the end, and one bottle of wine. That was pretty good guessing on the party planner’s part.

Tonight I am bartending at a fundraiser at a private home in La Canada. This is for a repeat customer. Shaken Not Stirred has been in business for less than two years, and I am starting to get much repeat business, which I love. Tomorrow, I will travel to Porter Ranch to bartend a birthday party/fight night event. I still have May 16th and May 23rd open and I am available to bartend on those dates.

Hollywood wrap party

Hollywood wrap party

Alhambra Surprise 40th Birthday Party

26 Apr

An ongoing drought in California

Guest bartender

Guest bartender

threatens the very existence of the state, yet on the day a woman schedules a surprise 40th birthday party for her husband, it rains cats and dogs. Well, that is an over exaggeration, rain messed things up for the surprise birthday party, but didn’t stop it. The host had tents set up in the backyard that kept most people dry. I had my own tent for the bar, and caterers had a tent.

The birthday boy had gone fishing and arrived home early because of the rain, so he wasn’t given the proper surprise cheer, but I saw his face as he realized they were having a party in his honor. I have said this before, but any man who has a surprise birthday party thrown for him is a lucky, and loved man. His wife had done extensive planning for this party, and hired a bartender (me), a DJ, and a caterer.

The caterer, Tacos Chicuas (213) 590-8209, provided tacos and quesadillas that were way above average.  I think their technique using a rotisserie cooker made the meat exceptionally tasty.  They had some incredible beans and a great selection of salsas. DJ Tossing T and MC JT provided the entertainment.  For a  surprise  40th birthday party, everything was top notch.

Tacos Chicuas with rotisserie cooker

Tacos Chicuas with rotisserie cooker

I served many pineapple based drinks, and the favorite of the night was the Buccanus, which was Buchannan Irish Whisky, pineapple juice, and grenadine, with a cherry garnish. This is the favorite of the birthday boy, and the trend caught on. I also served cucumber margaritas, and many Malibu and pineapples.

While I was bartending in Alhambra, I had another bartender doing at event at a television Studio in Glassel Park. He served beer and wine for about 100 people in the green room at a television production. I will go there again Thursday night. I have contracted with the production company to bartend at several of their tapings. Next Friday I will be bartending a fundraiser in La Canada, and then bartending at a party in Porter Ranch next Saturday night.

"You talkin' to me?"

“You talkin’ to me?”

Porter Ranch Christening Party

6 Oct

Sunday night, Shaken Not Stirred provided bartending services for the third time in the weekend at a Christening party at a home in Porter Ranch. I never know what to expect when I show up to an event. I have to assume that people are going to drink a lot and I am going to be very busy for seven hours straight and I have to prepare for that. There were over 100 people at this party and I was working by myself, so I had the potential to be very busy. I did have an initial rush of people at the beginning and was steadily busy for awhile, then it dropped off. This was a Sunday party.

People have events and they serve alcohol. Most people drink responsibly and not all parties are huge blow outs, where we have to go for more booze. This was a very mellow event on a Sunday night and I must say was just what I needed to end up a busy weekend. Somebody asked me how my night was going and I said “perfect”. I mean, who can complain when you are listening to good music, seeing and meeting beautiful people who are all dressed up, making money, and eating wonderful food? Not me.

Speaking of food, the meal they served at this party was excellent. I have eaten all kinds of food at all kinds of events and some of it is mediocre. This meal, was catered by the host’s father. He owns an Italian Deli in Thousand Oaks called Benvenuti

Mirrored bar and drink menu at Porter Ranch

Mirrored bar and drink menu at Porter Ranch

Friends and family celebrate

Friends and family celebrate

Shots!

Shots!

. The Chicken Marsala they served at the party was out of this world, it was so tender. They also had lasagna which was very good and pasta salad and veggies. I highly recommend them, if you are having a party anywhere in the San Fernando or Conejo Valleys.

I served a case of Prosecco, and had to pour half of the last bottle out at the end of the night. That is what I call a successful party. We had just enough. The signature drink the host chose in honor of her daughter’s christening was the Madras. Vodka, cranberry juice, and a splash of orange juice. I also served a lot of Johnny Walker Black Label, and Stella Artois beer.

When I’m not busy behind the bar I try to help keep the tables cleared of cups and bottles. This is something I have just been trained to do over the years working at fine dining establishments. The hosts and guests always seem to appreciate that. Next weekend I have a wedding to bartend in Temecula, and am in negotiations to bartend an anniversary party the following weekend in Palmdale. I’m coming up on a year anniversary myself of when I quit my full time job, and I must say I am loving every minute of it.

Venice Post-Wedding Luau

5 Oct

Shaken Not Stirred performed bartending services for the second event of a three event weekend at a Venice, California post wedding luau.

The Newly-weds at their Venice luau

The Newly-weds at their Venice luau

Fully decorated tiki bar

Fully decorated tiki bar

Me behind the bar in Venice, California

Me behind the bar in Venice, California

Traditional Polynesian fire show

Traditional Polynesian fire show

The couple was married earlier in the year, but had family in from out of the country and decided to throw a Hawaiian themed event in their backyard for their friends and family.  They really spent a lot of time decorating and had a time and place tunnel that guests had to walk through when entering the party that takes them to “Hawaii”.

When I arrived the whole backyard was already full of people.  I panicked, thinking I was late and had the times mixed up. The host informed me I wasn’t late. I have never been late to an event yet, and don’t want to break my record. Even though I was on time, I was thrown right into the fire. Guests started lining up at the bar right away and I had to start making Pina Colladas, Mai Tais, and Blue Hawaiians right away. These are the standard drinks at all Luaus and there are different variations of them.

They had a Hawaiian trio, Lei Aloha, performing music and the food was provided by King’s Hawaiian Bakery. They had some of the best Hawaiian pork I have ever tasted. When the sun went down, the temperature cooled down nicely and I continued to make tropical drinks. The hosts had purchased some plastic coconut cups that were kind of fun. Many of the guests at the party were visiting from Holland and it was nice meeting and talking to all of them. I have a good friend in Holland, Big Pete, who is a successful musician, and I will give him a shout out here.

I have history in this particular neighborhood in Venice. I used to hang out with a girl and we would dog sit some dogs just down the street from where the party was held. We used to walk the dogs in that neighborhood and admire all of the cute houses in the area, fantasizing that we would someday own one of them. I recognized the address when I booked the party.

The highlight of the party was a performance at the end of the evening by some traditional Hawaiian dancers, Tausala Polynesia. They got the guests involved for a couple numbers, and then did a traditional fire show as their finale. Tonight, I do it again as I bartend a Christening here in the San Fernando Valley, in Porter Ranch. Two very successful events down this weekend, one to go.

Malibu Canyon Pre-Wedding Cocktail Party

4 Oct

Shaken Not Stirred provided bartending services at a pre-wedding cocktail party in Malibu Canyon on Friday night. Malibu Canyon, also known as Las Virgenes Canyon is one the most beautiful areas in the Los Angeles area, and the party was hosted at a fantastic home south of Mulholland Highway. We served Margaritas, beer and wine to approximately 100 guests. It was a very successful event.

The host didn’t want to use store bought Margarita mix and so I agreed to make home made mix. I had never made Margarita mix before, but was up to the challenge. I have recently made cucumber syrup and mint syrup, so was eager to try Margarita mix. I used limes from the store, lemons from the tree in the backyard which are very juicy, and simple syrup. I made three gallons of the stuff. When I first tried it I felt it was very sour, but after it set in the refrigerator for two days it tasted just right.

The Margarita mix was a big hit at the party. We used all three gallons of the hom made margarita mix and had to break into the store bought mix they had on hand. We also served 805 Ale, which seems to becoming popular, Pacifico, Modelo, and Stella Artois. We served completely out of Pinot Grigio, and
Chardonnay. One nice surprise at the party was that I ran into a couple whom I bartended for at their wedding a few months ago. They were happy to see me and then the host of thise party remembered me from their wedding. The private bartending scene is getting smaller in Los Angeles.

I was a having trouble to get any of my regular helpers to help me on this Friday night job. A girl had sent me her resume out of the blue from my Yelp

Home made Margarita mix

Home made Margarita mix

Guests mingling in Malibu Canyon

Guests mingling in Malibu Canyon

Desiree, my new helper and I in Malibu Canyon

Desiree, my new helper and I in Malibu Canyon

ad. I was nervous using her because I didn’t spend a lot of time interviewing her, but she showed up on time and did a great job. I will definitely use her again. She said that she sent emails out to every Los Angeles bartending company on Yelp. That goes to show you that there are jobs (albeit temporary) for people who actually want them.

Tonight I am bartending by myself at a post-wedding party in Venice, and then tomorrow am bartending a Christening party in Porter Ranch. This is busy weekend for Shaken Not Stirred and I hope one of many in the near future. Next weekend I am bartending a wedding at a winery in Temecula and it will be my first bartending job out there. So far I don’t have a Halloween party booked for October 31, and hope to get one.

Mobile Bartender Service at Cathedral City Wedding

28 Sep

Shaken Not Stirred, the Southern California mobile bartending service provided mixology at the beautiful Cree Estate in Cathedral City. This is the second wedding

Madboom Cooler

Madboom Cooler

The Cree estate pool

The Cree estate pool

Guests mingle at cocktail hour

Guests mingle at cocktail hour

Shots!

Shots!

Twilight at the Cree Estate

Twilight at the Cree Estate

I have done two weddings at the Cree Estate, and I must say if you want absolute privacy for your wedding in a fantastic setting in the Palm Springs area, consider the Cree Estate. For this event, we had two bars, one near the main house for the cocktail hour immediately preceding the wedding ceremony, and then another bar was set up on the lawn for the after dinner reception.

I had planned the bar service with the bride for several months leading up to the wedding. She wanted a cucumber/vodka based drink. She wanted to do a drink that was served in one of her favorite bars, which involved muddling a cucumber with mint leaves and serving it with vodka and pineapple juice. We decided that any drink that involves muddling is probably not the best idea for a wedding with 100 guests. We settled on a drink that was called the Madboom Cooler. I made cucumber/mint syrup to eliminate the muddling. We used one once of cumber/mint syrup, one once of pineapple juice, two ounces of vodka, and a splash of club soda. Top it off with a cucumber slice and a mint leaf garnish.

The drink seemed to be a hit as about 80 percent of the guests ordered it at the cocktail hour. I wasn’t really prepared for that. At most wedding and events, usually only about 25 percent of the guests order the specialty cocktail. I was making those drinks five at a time. It seemed that people liked them, because many came back for more. We had real glassware, which is always nice. We also served Dry Creek Chenin Blanc, and Souverain Cabernet for wine, and had Negro Modelo and Corona Light for cervesas.

Mia was my barback and she always does an incredible job and is a great bartender as well. I often bartend parties of 100 people by myself, but I recommend a barback for groups that large. For groups over 125, I definitely recommend two bartenders. I have another wedding coming up in Temecula in two weeks and she will help me with that one as well.

This coming week, the mobile bartending service will stay close to LA. I have a post wedding party in Calabasas on Friday, a birthday party in Venice on Saturday, and then a birthday party on Sunday in Porter Ranch. By request I will be making homemade margarita mix for the party on Friday. I am enjoying making mixes with fresh ingredients. I am not going to sit here and say that it is brain surgery. Making the infused simple syrups and mixes is pretty easy to do, but I think the difference in taste really makes it worth it.