Tag Archives: Santa Ynez

Los Olivos Wedding

29 Mar
Figueroa Mountain Farmhouse

Figueroa Mountain Farmhouse

Shaken Not Stirred made the longest journey yet to bartend a wedding reception in the mountains north of Santa Barbara. The contract stated that the wedding was in Santa Ynez, but the venue was closer to the town of Los Olivos. The wedding took place at the Figueroa Mountain Farmhouse, which is a rustic farmhouse that was disassembled in Appalachia, and then brought to the hills and reassembled.  It is a remote location, but very quaint, and with stunning views, fresh air, and bright star lit nights.

The wedding ceremony was held on the hill above the farmhouse and there was a stunning view of the valley below and the ocean to the west. The sunset was incredible and I have provided a picture here. After the wedding, the guests made their way back to the farmhouse for the cocktail hour.  There were about forty guests, so we had one little rush at the bar right after the wedding ceremony.

Get yer' hands out of your pockets!

Get yer’ hands out of your pockets!

I had been hired on this job months ago, and spent much time coordinating with the host. I served Old Fashioneds, Tom Collins, Gin and tonics, and of course, wine and beer. Plymouth gin is by far the best gin available and is what I recommend for gin drinks. I make the Tom Collins with Plymouth gin, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup, and club soda, garnished with a cherry.

Guests dined on tamales and Mexican food that a local caterer brought up and dropped off. One thing about it, if you forget anything at this location, it is not too easy to return to town to get it. Los Olivos is the closest town, fifteen miles down a narrow mountain road. My son was with me to help and he was great, as usual.

Guests walking down from wedding ceremony

Guests walking down from wedding ceremony

Next weekend is Easter Sunday, and so far I have nothing scheduled. I hope to get a birthday party or cocktail party on Friday or Saturday night. I have a few events scheduled in April, and will be traveling to Apple Valley at one point to bartend an anniversary party.  I have birthday parties to bartend in Alhambra and Orange County. Book your spring and summer parties now!

Sunset

Sunset

Special Corporate Project for Palm Desert Event

20 Mar
Premade drinks for special event

Premade drinks for special event

The marketing director of a corporation in San Francisco called me from this website and asked if I would be interested in doing a special project for a Palm Desert event. She wanted me to make and bottle 300 drinks for a conference that was scheduled to be held at a resort in Palm Desert. I told her that I had never done a project like that before, but agreed to do it.

The company in San Francisco shipped me all the bottles, caps, and special ingredients need. I purchased the liquor. I made 240 handmade sodas with their special syrups and seltzer water.  There was ginger ale and spicy cola. They tasted better than the average soda.

Handmade sodas

Handmade sodas

I also made two cocktails and bottled them in flasks. One was called the Desert Mule, and was a vodka based drink and it was really good. The other was a Margarita made with their special syrup and fresh squeezed lime juice. I then made some other drinks in large growler bottles.  The project was very labor intensive, but I got it done without any help.  I delivered the drinks to the hotel in Palm Desert as I was contracted to do. I was grateful to get the project, and to be trusted with such an undertaking. I will gladly do it again.

Flasks and growlers

Flasks and growlers

On Saturday, I will bartend at a wedding that one of my associates booked in Riverside. This will be the first event that I have done not under the Shaken Not Stirred banner in quite some time. I must admit, it is kind of nice to do one event that I am not entirely responsible for. That all changes next weekend, when I have one company party in Palm Springs, one rehearsal dinner the next night at a hotel in Palm Springs, and then a wedding on Saturday on the other side of Southern California in Santa Ynez. I am responsible for all of those events, and have done much planning over the past few months. In the mobile bartender and event business, preparation is everything.

Finished projects delivered

Finished projects delivered

Shaken Not Stirred: James Bond Theme Party in Brentwood

15 Mar
"Shaken not stirred,"

“Shaken not stirred,”

“Shaken Not Stirred,” is a phrase coined by James Bond, and I felt it was the perfect name for my bartending company. Last night I bartended a housewarming party in Brentwood that was attended by approximately 70 guests. Many of the party guests were dressed in full Bong regalia. I wore white shirt and bow tie in honor of the occasion.

The host wanted real glassware, and I brought the glass rentals. I like using real glasses, especially for Martinis. A few glasses got broken at this party. I think real glassware is better at some parties than others. This house was five levels, so real glassware was a little problematic.

I poured many gin martinis, “Shaken Not Stirred.” Manhattans were also popular. I poured Fireball and tequila shots all night until two in the morning. We served completely out of whisky, champagne, and white wine. It seems that everybody had a good time and didn’t get too out of hand.

Shots!

Shots!

Screwdriver waiting to get screwed

Screwdriver waiting to get screwed

Today, I am finishing a corporate project I am doing. I have to put labels on 300 pre-made drinks. Tomorrow I will deliver them to Palm Springs, and I have rented a truck for that. Next weekend I am helping one of my associate bartenders with a wedding that she booked. It is kind of nice to have a break from be responsible for everything.

The final weekend of the month I will be busy with two parties in Palm Springs, and then a wedding in Santa Ynez, that my son will help me with.

Valentine’s Day Wedding in West Hills

15 Feb

westhills1Saturday was Valentine’s Day and Shaken Not Stirred provided bartending service and servers for a wedding in West Hills. This was my first time bartending an Ethiopian wedding, and it was quite an incredible experience. This is what I love about doing event bartending. I am exposed to so many different cultural customs and traditions at landmark events in people’s lives. I have bartended at Mexican weddings, Armenian Christenings, Qinceaneras,  Vietnamese engagement parties, Persian weddings, traditional Jewish weddings, military weddings,  and all kinds of birthday parties.

This Valentine’s Day wedding was held at a house in West Hills, on the far North west edge of the San Fernando Valley that overlooks the entire valley. The weather could not have been nicer. When you are planning weddings in Southern California, the odds are pretty good that there is a ninety percent chance of no rain. This particular house is available for weddings and other events, and I did not get the name of it, but it was an incredible venue.

Traditional Ethiopian wedding dance

Traditional Ethiopian wedding dance

I brought two servers with me and three of us were busy the entire time. I had spoken with the bride several times leading up to the event and I helped her plan a shopping menu.  Unfortunately, we had plenty of alcohol, but everybody seemed to only want one choice – Grey Goose. We ran out of Grey Goose vodka two hours into the reception and I sent one of my girls out to buy more.  Then a couple hours later we ran out again! I left the reception leaving the girls to hold down the fort and went and bought more. I am not a big believer in Grey Goose and think that it is way overpriced, but it was what the hosts wanted.

We served the champagne toast and we helped serve the wedding cake and then the party started winding down. I am bartending a 60th birthday party in Northridge on the 28th and am still available for the 21st, so who knows where that will take me. In March I have three events in Palm Springs, all on weekdays, so I still have three Saturdays open. The final Saturday of March I have a big wedding in Santa Ynez, where I will provide bartending service. And winter is almost over.

February in Southern California

February in Southern California

Moroccan Themed Birthday Party in Glendora

8 Feb
DJ Benny Boom spins inside tent

DJ Benny Boom spins inside tent

Shaken Not Served traveled to Glendora on Saturday night to bartend a Moroccan themed birthday party. The hosts had a fantastic tent set up in their backyard that looked like something out of 1001 Arabian nights.  They also had a very nice backyard bar for me to work from. It was raining when I got there, but that’s what tents are for, right?  The rain subsided, and the guest started arriving. I think the party was a great success.

The host and I worked together on an extensive drink menu that included eight specialty drinks and just as many shot choices. The Moroccan Mint Martini, was the tip choice of the night. The drink includes, vodka, muddled mint leaves, simple syrup, fresh lime juice, and a splash of orange juice. It has a very nice color and looks good in the martini glass.  I also made Cosmo’s, Lemon Drops, Appletinis, and cucumber margaritas.

Shots lined up

Shots lined up

This party was all about shots. I started the trend by making different specialty shots and setting them out. The favorite one was the Woo Hoo, which had vodka, peach schnapps, and cranberry juice. The Washington Apple was popular, which has Crown Royal. Cranberry juice, and apple pucker. I also made Lemon drop shots, and by the end of the night, Monster & vodka shots. I served four handles of vodka.

Shots!

Shots!

The DJ was Benny Boom, of the San Gabriel Valley (909) 767-9291. He passed my DJ test and gets to appear on this blog. He didn’t play YMCA, Happy, or the Cupid Shuffle. I think many DJ’s lack imagination and just play the same mix at every party. This DJ was above average in that respect and he really got the party going. By the end of the night the dance floor was full. The shots also helped in that respect.

Shots 2!

Shots 2!

Next Saturday is Valentine’s Day and I will bartending a wedding in West Hills, and am taking two servers with me. I was looking at my schedule for next month, and I have three events in Palm Springs, and they are all on Fridays, so, I can book Saturday night events on those weekends. I also have a wedding in Santa Ynez, where I have never been before and am looking forward to it. In March, Shaken Not Stirred, the Southern California mobile bartending service will be logging a lot of miles.

International Valley Glen 40th Birthday Party

25 Jan
Great wall of LA in the neighborhood

Great wall of LA in the neighborhood

Last night, Shaken Not Stirred once again traveled one whole mile to bartend an international 40th birthday party in my own hood, they call Valley Glen. I say it was an international birthday party because there were guests in attendance from Argentina, Great Britain, Iran, Mexico, Chile, and probably a few other countries. I have links to South America myself, and love the way they party.

I had booked this party months ago, and I think the reason the host booked me, was because I was in the neighborhood. Yesterday, all day before the party I was suffering anxiety and was feeling that somehow I was going to screw the party up. I arrived 1.5 hours early to set up for this reason. Of course, I forgot my tupperwear for garnishes, simple syrup, camera, and knife. So, I drove back home and got those items, minus the camera. A friend of mine keeps telling me I should make a check list. I think it it is time I finally do that. I always either forget to bring something, or I leave something behind.

Lousy picture of my bar

Lousy picture of my bar

The party went very well. I think it is almost impossible to screw a party up as a bartender if you arrive early to prepare. I served Old Fashioneds, Mojitos, Cuba Libres, and Cape Cods. The old Fashioned and the Mojito are labor intensive drinks to make, but the more I make them, the quicker I am. The Old Fashioned is a classic cocktail and fantastic drink.  Those were definitely the hit of the night. I served Peroni beer, Lagonitas IPA, and lots of red wine.

As I mentioned, I forgot my camera and only took a couple lousy pictures with my camera before it died. It’s a shame because there were many attractive people in attendance, dancing, and fantastic food. The host’s father in law made the food and it was incredible. They had many amazing appetizers, and then a very healthy main course selection, Argentine style.  In the end, I think the party was a great success, and I think the birthday boy was very happy. Any man who has a 40th birthday party thrown for him, is indeed a lucky man.

Next weekend I don’t have anything yet scheduled, and it is Super Bowl weekend. I’m hoping to pick up a couple of parties. I have some birthday parties and weddings scheduled in February, and March is going to be very busy. I will be driving all over southern California bartending weddings in Santa Inez, Palm Springs, and the Inland Empire.

Backyard tent setup for party

Backyard tent setup for party

Huffington Center Fundraiser in Los Angeles

18 Jan
The Huffington Center and St. Sofia Cathedral

The Huffington Center and St. Sofia Cathedral

Last night Shaken Not Stirred contracted to bartend an event at the Huffington Center in Los Angeles for the annual Sons of Pericles, Greeks in LA event. The Huffington Center is a fantastic facility on the grounds of the St. Sofia Greek Orthodox Cathedral south of Koreatown in Los Angeles. There were about 100 guests in attendance from all over the country. Many of the young men played in the annual basketball tournament earlier in the day at the Huffington Center.

I had been in contact for months with the organizer of the event, who flew in from Brooklyn.  The event was a fundraiser and they charged for drinks. They used different colored tickets for shots, beers, wine, or mixed drinks. It was a pretty good system, and guests were carded at the door and given wrist bands, so I didn’t have to card people. The event was supposed to start at 9pm, but people didn’t really start trickling in until 10pm, and then I got slammed.

Men...

Men…

I served out of Jack Daniels, rum, and Ouzo. I also served a lot of vodka, gin, and tequila. It was the kind of event where it would have been nice to have a barback, but I handled it ok. The Huffington Center is set up nicely for events. They have a big ballroom, and a huge, very well designed kitchen that is equipped to serve hundreds. A very nice facility, and which I hope to return to.

Women...

Women…

Next weekend I will bartend another birthday party in my own neighborhood of Valley Glen, and an event at the Reef in downtown Los Angeles. I do not have a Super Bowl party booked yet, and I hope to pick up one. I have another birthday party booked the first week in February in Glendora, and then the rest of February is pretty open. March is filling up fast, however, and I have several weddings booked all over Southern California, from Palm Springs to Santa Ynez. Book your bartender now!

Shots!

Shots!

Shaken Not Stirred Provided Bartending Service at Camarillo Wedding

30 Aug

Last night, Shaken Not Stirred provided bartending service for a wedding at the McCormick Home Ranch in Camarillo. I brought along another bartender to serve wine and beer to around 150 guests at this very nice venue. I hope to bartend many more events at this location in Ventura County. The weather was perfect for a wedding and a nice ocean breeze blowing in from the coast provided natural air conditioning.

Forever Young Brewery,  provided some kegs and he had a keg cooler with Co2 bottles, which makes it very easy for the bartenders. This is really the best way to serve beer from kegs – and I dread the pump up taps that slow service way down and the beer is often way too foamy. We had six different beers to serve, from a light ale, an IPA, two different porters, a stout, and Coors Light. We served completely out of the Ale and IPA, but there was plenty of the other beers left over. We also served Chardonnay, a Moscato, Merlot, and Cabernet. We ran out of white wine, which is always the biggest seller at weddings.

After the initial rush directly after the wedding ceremony, I probably could have handled this party by myself, but I usually recommend that people book two bartenders for parties over one hundred people. I have several great people who work with me, and the service is much quicker, especially when a big line to the bar forms. We usually try to pick up empty glasses and keep the tables and area clean when we aren’t busy. Good bartending service is about providing all around service, not just serving drinks.

Bruce Barrios provided the DJ services and he says that Ventura County is his territory. He says he does several events a year at the McCormick Home Ranch, and I hope to work with him again. Wood Ranch Barbecue

McCormick Home Ranch in Camarillo

McCormick Home Ranch in Camarillo

Future bride with her daddy

Future bride with her daddy

Action shot bartending

Action shot bartending

The sparkler gauntlet

The sparkler gauntlet

provided the catering and their food is always excellent. My son has worked for them for years and they are a very good company that is growing in Ventura, Los Angeles, and Orange counties.

Tonight I have another wedding in El Monte, and then tomorrow am doing a backyard pre Labor Day party in Redondo Beach. This marks the official end of the summer, but not the wedding season, as I still have several wedding coming up in Westlake Village, Temecula, Palm Springs, and I just booked one in Santa Ynez.  I am flying to Montana on Monday for a week long vacation, and then am providing bartending service for a cocktail party on my first day back in Beverly Hills.