Tag Archives: San Clemente

Two Weddings and a Brazilian Themed Birthday Party

17 Oct
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San Clemente State Beach

 

Last week Shaken Not Stirred provided bar catering for two big weddings and a Brazilian themed birthday party. Thursday I traveled to San Clemente to bartend a wedding at the Historic Cottage located at the San Clemente State Park. On Friday I bartended a birthday party with a Brazilian theme in the Venice Beach area, and then on Saturday drove to Palm Springs to provide bartending service at the Palm Springs air museum. It was a very successful week for Shaken Not Stirred.

The Historic Cottage

The Historic Cottage at the San Clemente State Park overlooks the ocean and is a fantastic venue for a wedding. This venue reminded me very much of The Pointe Vicente Interperative Center in Rancho Palos Verdes. The Historic Cottage only allows wine and beer service, and drink service stops at 10pm.

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Guests mingle during cocktail hour

For this wedding, the ceremony was held on the bluff overlooking the ocean, and then the guests came for the cocktail hour held in the front yard of the Historic Cottage. I had my portable bar setup there and a had a barback from Orange County helping me there. We served approximately 150 guests. After the cocktail hour, the guests moved to the backyard area of the cottage for dinner and dancing.

Brazilian Themed Birthday Party

A chef that I know, Ella Freyinger, referred me to bartend for one of her friend’s birthday party. The client and her husband were very British, but they wanted to do a Brazilian themed birthday party. I would be serving Caipirinhas, the Brazilian cocktails and they would be serving food popular in Brazil. Caipirinhas are made with Brazilian cane liquor, Cachaca, brown sugar, and lime. They are somewhat labor intensive drinks that require much muddling, so I kept busy making them for four hours for 30 guests.

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Cachaca and Brazilian soda

 

At first, I didn’t think the guests liked them, because they were drinking them slowly, but that changed quickly. Guests brought more bottles of different brands of Cachaca, and I was making drinks with at least four different brands, including Pitu, Cachaca 51, Novo Fogo, and Avua. The owner of the Avua brand was actually at the party, and provided a lot of insight about the various types. I must mention that Caipirinhas are deadly drinks that go down smooth, but can bite like a rattlesnake.

Palm Springs Air Museum

I have done weddings and parties at venues all over the Coachella Valley, but this was my first wedding at the Palm Springs Air Museum. It is a truly fantastic museum located in a hangar at the Palm Springs airport. It is full of vintage planes and displays, which I didn’t really have time to look out because I had to hustle and prepare for a 230 guest wedding party. I had another bartender and barback there to help me. Unlike many wedding parties I do the ceremony for this one was done somewhere else, so the guests trickled in, rather than arriving in a line all at once. It can be daunting to serve a line a 230 people.

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Myself, barback Teresa, and bartender Thomas

We served margaritas, and mojitos, and various other drinks. The highlight is when they opened the hangar door and we could see a dramatic sunset over the mountains of Palm Springs, as well as vintage planes outside the hangar and commercial jets taking off nearby. It was a great event and hope to return there soon.

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Shots!

 

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

First Three Holiday Parties in December

6 Dec
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Vine Street in December

I have 25 holiday parties scheduled so far for December, and still have some open dates available. The Christmas decorations are up and Santa even made an appearance at a December 1, company party. So, far, so good for the first three and only 22 more to go and I’m sure I will pick up more. New Year’s eve is still available and I’m holding off trying to book that, and am waiting to see if one of my repeat customers wants to do a party that night.

Woodland Hills Company Party

An engineering firm in Warner Center had their company Christmas party on December first at their company office. They had an island in the center of the office that worked perfectly as a makeshift bar. I provided glassware rentals. I can get any kind of glassware rentals my clients want. One thing that I have found, is that the guests attending parties don’t really care and are perfectly fine drinking out of plastic cups. It is nice to have real wine glasses on occasion and especially real martini glasses.

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Santa sitting on my lap

I made cucumber mint Moscow mules, and cranberry Old Fashioneds for the guests at this party. They hired a taco caterer to come and make tacos, but one thing they didn’t think about is that you can’t make tacos for 40 people inside an enclosed office space. The smoke will set the sprinklers off. They quickly came to a solution and the taco man setup on the roof of the building and brought the finished product down to serve.

Simi Valley Christmas Party

The second of December found me in Simi Valley at the home of a repeat client. They really go all out for Christmas and put up extensive decorations. They have a very nice bar inside their home and it is a pleasure to work from. I served martinis and other holiday themed cocktails to approximately 80 guests. They had a DJ and the hosts and guests danced up a storm. They brought in food from Simi Valley restaurant, Viva La Pasta.

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Christmas decorations on Simi Valley home

The host told me they may have another party before the month if over. I still have the 22cnd of the 23rd available. I am booked on Christmas Eve. December is always my busiest month and it usually slows down considerably in January. All the bartending companies will be competing for morsels until the wedding season starts again in March.

Hollywood Holiday Party

Last night I traveled to Hollywood for the third annual company holiday party of a television production company. This company has a hit television series going on its fourth season, so they have much to celebrate. They usually have over two hundred guests so that keeps two bartenders very busy for four hours.

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Hollywood company party

Pink Taquiza catered the tacos. My son helped me and we served a Pomegranate Moscow Mule. I premixed a big batch to save time serving and that worked out well. The signature cocktail was a hit and we served out of it by the end of the night. Tomorrow I have a corporate holiday event in Culver City. Friday night I am sending multiple bartenders out to locations in Hermosa Beach, and Silverlake, while I bartend a party in San Clemente. One Saturday I return to the San Fernando Valley to bartend a holiday party, and then on Sunday I go to Manhattan Beach to bartend a party for the Christmas fireworks show. Please follow us on Instagram.

 

Two South Orange County Events

3 Apr

Last weekend Shaken Not Stirred provided bartending service for two South Orange County events in Dana Point and a few miles away in Laguna Niguel. It is a beautiful area and a great time of the year to visit and experience outdoor events there. On Friday night I bartended a rehearsal dinner and served approximately 80 guests, and then on Saturday I provided service at a birthday party at a fantastic home overlooking the coast in Laguna Niguel.

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Dana Point Harbor

When I arrived to the rehearsal dinner on Friday night there were already many guests self serving themselves at the bar and I immediately got the sinking feeling I had somehow got the time wrong and I was late. I am phobic about being late and am always on time and even way early. I was not late, the party just started early in this case. I scrambled to get prepared, but it was easy because the wedding planner had already prepped the bar for me.

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Friends share a drink at Dana Point Rehearsal Party

They held the event at a rental house from Air B&B that had a very nice back yard perfect for events. Many of the Air B&B rentals allow guests to have parties as long as they pay large deposits and adhere to all of the guidelines. Many of the people at this event traveled from different parts of the country.

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Shots!

South Orange County

  • Laguna Niguel
  • Dana Point
  • San Clemente
  • Mission Viejo
  • San Juan Capistrano
  • Laguna Beach

I made margaritas and other simple mixed drinks and served wine and beer. It was a good warm up for the wedding, which was being held at a hotel the following night. I had also helped the bride and groom make a shopping list for supplies for their wedding. I hope that worked out for them.

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Sunset Laguna Niguel

I stayed in the area and the next night I went to a fantastic home up on the hill in Laguna Niguel to bartend a birthday party. The view from the backyard was incredible. To the north you could see Laguna Beach, to the south, Dana Point, and then of course due west was the Pacific Ocean, the Palos Verdes Peninsula, and Catalina Island. The backyard bar was the perfect perch for all of that.

I brought my jalapeno margarita mix and also made Pisco Sours for the specialty drinks. About thirty guests were in attendance. Diverse DJ Events provided the music, and Taquero Juan Celio (714) 687-6825, provided the tacos. It was a great evening in a killer location. Next weekend I have potential job in Palm Desert on Friday, and then a birthday party in Sherman Oaks on Saturday. Please follow us on Facebook if you haven’t done so already.

 

San Clemente Company Christmas Party

12 Dec
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Guests sit around the fire at company Christmas party.

Friday night I drove all the way down to the bottom of Orange County to bartend a company Christmas party in San Clemente. This was the fourth time I have gone to Orange County in the past thirty days. I am finally getting to know my way around OC, and I used to always get lost down there behind the “Orange Curtain”.

San Clemente is a beautiful place indeed and it must be a pleasure to live there. This company Christmas party I did was a referral from another client I had in San Clemente, which is always nice. I worked with the host to come up with a drink menu and shopping list. The host wanted three holiday specialty cocktails and they chose a Gingerbread cocktail, a Candy Kane cocktail and a Pomegranate Margarita. All three drinks were a hit with the guests.

Taquizas Armeria Colima (714) 904-4949 of Orange County provided the catering and they served some great tacos. The host also served some really good homemade eggnog, of course spiked with Maker’s Mark. In the end I served various shots, including a gingerbread shot, and Kamikazes.

Company Christmas Party Ideas

  • Hire a bartender
  • Secretly videotape and record everyone
  • Fire employees that don’t show up
  • Evaluate employees at party
  • Just kidding…

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    Shots!

The hosts were very happy with my service and said they would hire me again next year. The secret to being successful as a private bartender is showing up early, being prepared, and being of maximum service. Everything seems to fall into place if I consistently do those three things.  So far I have done over 300 events as Shaken Not Stirred and have yet to receive a bad review.

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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.

San Clemente Surprise Birthday Party

29 Jun

Saturday night I traveled south to Orange County to bartend a surprise birthday party in San Clemente. San Clemente is one of the true gems of Southern California right on the border of Orange/San Diego Counties. You really couldn’t find a nicer place to live anywhere in the country. The host had done extensive planning to pull off this event as a surprise and was quite successful – her husband was totally surprised.

I must say I was very impressed by how much the host had put into this event. She had photo shopped pictures of her husband with various celebrities and it had me fooled. I wondered who is this guy? She had made a surf/Hawaiian theme and the back yard looked incredible. I set up my portable bar on a little section of lawn and it fit just perfectly. They had artificial grass at this house, and I must say it looked very nice and was perfect to set up on.

The host and I did a lot of planning on the drink menu. I served Mojitos, Pom Martinis, Bellinis, Margaritas, blended Strawberry Margaritas, and Coors Light. The birthday boy was Coors Light man and the beer went fast. We ran out of beer before the party was over, but one of the guests came to the rescue and brought more.  Every crowd is different and it is hard to gauge what people are going to drink the most of.

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Hills of San Clemente

Hills of San Clemente

Portable bar with green trim

Portable bar with green trim

Sohotaco cart

Sohotaco cart

Shots!

Shots!

did the catering and they served up some awesome fish tacos and regular tacos. Overall it was a very nice event and a great group of people. I am tired after doing three events this week and only hope I will be this tired every week. Shaken Not Stirred as a business is really taking off and I am grateful. I hope to keep up the momentum.

Next week is Fourth of July weekend and I will be in Newport Beach for a Fourth of July party, and then have a big wedding to do with over 250 people in Santa Ana. Every Saturday is booked in July and I have four weddings in August. As they say where I come from – “make hay while the sun is still shining.”

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 Screening Event

27 Jun

Last night Shaken Not Stirred did another week night event in Hollywood. I’ve been doing a weeknight corporate event almost every week for the past few weeks and I hope the trend continues – I love these gigs. Last night it was the premier of the second season of the Comedy Central series, Nathan For You. The event was held at the funky little theatre on Fairfax, Cinefamily

Beverage selection

Beverage selection

Terrance bar tending

Terrance bar tending

Industry mingling

Industry mingling

. The Theatre has a cool little outdoor space in the back for events like this with a bar.

I took a new bartender I have met with me, Terrance, who recently moved here from Rochester New York. We served around 180 people wine, beer, and sodas for about an hour before the screening, and then after the screening was over for a couple of hours. Stella Artois was the most popular beer of the night, followed by Ranger IPA. We served two highly rated wines for under $10 a bottle, Round Hill Chardonnay, and Gen 5 Cabernet.

I had made a shopping list for the event planner and he increased the beer order from what I had given him, which turned out to be a good thing – we went through almost all the beer. We served most of two cases of wine. Another successful event for Shaken Not Stirred. Another night in Hollywood where the television industry promotes its wares, and I hope to do many more events like this.

Tonight I am doing a cocktail party in Beverly Hills where we will be serving Manhattans, Whisky Sours, and Pomegranate martinis. I have twelve martini glasses I am bringing to the party, which makes it fun for everybody – including me. I love making martinis and pouring them into real martini glasses. I will do it again tomorrow night at a birthday party in San Clemente.

Shaken Not Stirred serves corporate events, screening, fundraisers, reunions, and openings. We also do birthday parties, weddings, anniversaries, pool parties, barbecues, and holiday parties. I have booked a Fourth of July party in Newport Beach, which could be challenging, considering the traffic and parking situation. I will keep you posted.

Camp Pendleton Wedding

24 Jun
A wedding scene

A wedding scene

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Bride and Groom on beach

Traditional chair dance

Traditional chair dance

Sunday I was the bartender at a wedding on the Marine Corps base at Camp Pendleton. They have a very nice beach resort there for active and retired members of the military. All branches of the military may enjoy the resort, not just Marines.  They have one and two bedroom villas on the beach available for rent at significant better rates than local hotels in the area, you can check out the website of the Del Mar Beach Resort. The wedding that I attended was on the sand in a tent.  All Occasion Disk Jockeys provided the wedding entertainment.

First of all, what I imagined and what the wedding was like were two very different things. I had exchanged several emails with the bride about the drink menu and shopping list, but had never actually talked to her on the phone. I assumed she was marrying a Marine and there would be many Marines in attendance in full uniform. I know that Marines can drink, so I made a shopping list accordingly. Fortunately, the bride knew better and didn’t exactly follow my shopping list or she would have bought way too much.

As it turns out the bride is a doctor in the Navy, and that was her connection to the military. There were no Marines in attendance! I was only bummed because I wanted a picture taken of me surrounded by Marines in full uniform! It was a very nice wedding despite of my expectations and a perfect scenic setting for a very memorable event.

Mojitos were one of the drinks on the drink menu. Mojitos are a very labor intensive drink and I usually make large batches of them. Also, Mojitos require many, many limes. I ran out of limes at this wedding and had to stop making Mojitos. I do not recommend having Mojitos for parties over 40 people. They are just too time consuming to make and will slow service way down.

This week I have a screening event to do in Hollywood, and then am heading down south to San Clemente to bartend a birthday party. Again, I will be making Mojitos. The Forth of July is still open on my schedule. I did not get a Forth of July party last year and hope I am not going to get skunked again. Oh well, I could just enjoy the forth with my own family and freinds, couldn’t I?