Last Saturday I drove to the South Bay to bartend a high school graduation party in scenic Rolling Hills Estates. Of course, high school graduates are not yet of drinking age, but I served the graduates soft drinks, and mixed harder stuff for their parents and older siblings. The party took place at a very nice property, with a well stocked home bar.
I made Old Fashioneds, Dry Martinis, Margaritas, and Mojitos for approximately sixty guests. This was a much different party than the one I attended when I graduated high school. Ours was in a garage and we had a keg of beer and we all got really drunk. That was a different time and place over thirty years ago. These high school graduates are going off the universities like Tulane, and USC next year.
The host makes his own wine from grapes he grows himself on his property. I forget the name of the grape he uses, but I had never heard of it before. I decanted a couple of bottles and the guests loved it. He even has his own stylish labels on the bottles. He also makes Grappa, and limoncello.
Graduation Party Ideas
Hire a bartender
Choose a theme
Serve great food
Invite the parents
Play great music
The party went on until midnight and they had a dance floor setup in the living room. It was a very nice graduation party, and I’m sure the graduates will always have fond memories of it. I met some good people who took my card and I hope they will call me for future jobs. I have a long history in the South Bay and I always enjoying back there.
Tomorrow I am doing a junior high graduation party in Encino. I will make virgin drinks for approximately 40 kids. I have done a few non alcoholic events. This coming Saturday I will drive out the Palmdale to bartend a wedding rehearsal party. I have other events later this month in Los Angeles and in Oxnard. Follow Shaken Not Stirred on Instagram if you haven’t done so already.
Shaken Not Stirred, the Los Angeles Mobile Bartending service just completed a six day tour of Southern California, and made drinks for five different events. The tour started in the Gaslamp District of downtown San Diego, moved north to Redondo Beach for St. Paddy’s day, then east to the city of Walnut, back to the San Fernando Valley, and then south again to Brea. I personally made thousands of drinks. I had help for the Brea Corporate event.
San Diego Corporate Event
A company in the Gaslamp District in San Diego hosted an event to introduce their company and space to potential new clients. They hired me to make the drinks. I made simple vodka drinks and they had beer and Kombucha on tap. I also served wine. Napizza of San Diego served some excellent authentic Italian Pizzas and some fantastic salads. I highly recommend them if you need unique catering in the San Diego area. Solti provided some very good organic juices that I also highly recommend. Everything went smoothly and the mellow event was a good primer for what was to come.
Redondo Beach St. Patrick’s Day Party
I drove up to Redondo Beach the next day to bartend a St. Patrick’s Day party. I lived in Hermosa Beach for years and St. Patrick’s Day is a big deal down there. I set up my portable bar outside on the driveway and served drinks to around 80 guests. It was cold in Redondo Beach and I had forgotten how cold the wind can be in the South Bay. I didn’t bring a jackets, so I forgot the boy scout motto of “always be prepared.” Things warmed up however, when I made hundreds of drinks and served 5 handles of Tito’s vodka, among other things. I did not get the caterer’s card, but they served up some great traditional corned beef and cabbage, and many fine desserts. The South Bay crowd did not disappoint – they like to party down there.
Walnut 40th Birthday Party
I spent the night in my own bed and got up the next day to provide mobile bartending service for a 40th birthday party in Walnut. The clients were referred to me from another mobile bartender because she was not available that night. The party was held at a very nice house in the hills above the 60 Freeway. The band that they hired, FlashPants, was setting up the stage when I arrived. The house had a very nice bar in the backyard and the hosts had already prepped it for me, so all I had to do was serve the drinks. I was pretty busy the whole night and most of the guests were members of law enforcement dressed up like Gangsta’ rappers. The theme was 80’s and the band put on a hell of a show. That was one of the best cover bands I have ever seen. I think the birthday boy had one memorable 40th.
Valley Village Birthday Party
I went back to the San Fernando Valley to bartend a birthday party in Valley Village the next day. It was a Kosher event, so there are special preparation rules that apply. I made the jalapeno margarita mix on site and that was a big hit for the guests. The birthday boy planned the party himself and he and I came of with the drink menu and the crazy names for the drinks. I made Long Island Ice teas for the hard core drinkers in the group. The event was literally five minutes from my house, which was nice and I don’t often get to do. That is why they call it a mobile bartending service, because I have to be mobile – very mobile. I will be doing another kosher event next weekend at a synagogue in Oak Park.
Brea Corporate Event
I got one day to regroup and then drove back to Orange County to bartend a corporate event at Sigler Corporation in Brea. This is the second event I have done for them. Mia Martini, a fellow mobile bartender helped me with this one. About 100 guests showed up to view the new air cooling unit that Sigler has developed. To the guests this unit was like a Ferrari. We served alot of beer, margaritas, and vodka drinks. It was raining the whole time, but the turnout was good anyway, and the event was a success.
This coming weekend I go mobile again, and will be driving to Indian Wells to bartend a wedding reception, then I was get up the next morning to get to Oak Park to bartend an engagement party. Another bartender will be doing a fundraiser for me in Glendora. It is the busy Spring season for the Los Angeles mobile bartending service.
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of providing bartending service on the Esplanade in Redondo Beach for a wedding that took place right at Sunset. Redondo Beach has to be the most beautiful area in Los Angeles County, and I miss living down there, so it was a treat for me just to go there. This was a weekday wedding, which was I don’t do very often, but keep them coming is all I can say.
The wedding took place on the sun deck of the apartment complex where the groom lives. All of the other tenants in the apartment building were invited, and the groom explained to me that they all hang out. That is the way it is in the South Bay. The bride and groom met at the Bull Pen, which I thought was funny. The Bull Pen is a South Redondo bar that is notorious for being a cougar meat market. I went in there one time and a 70 year old man purposely bumped into me because he thought i was after his action. Apparently, real love does blossom at the Bull Pen and this wedding was proof positive of that.
Redondo Beach Bars
The Bull Pen
The Thirsty Club
Cocktail hour started at 5pm and I served a lot of wine and standard mixed drinks like gin and tonics and rum and Cokes. One of the guests brought a few magnums of a very nice Cabernet. The wine was a 2005 and needed time to breath to come alive. The guests enjoyed it and drank several bottles. Made By Meg provided the catering and they had some excellent lamb chops and other goodies for the guests.
The ceremony began right as the sun went down, and the sunset on the water was stunning as it always is. I used to watch those beautiful sunsets every day when I lived in Hermosa Beach. I will be returning to the South Bay next month to do a party in Hermosa Beach. On Saturday I return to Orange County to bartend a birthday party for some of my best clients at their home in Villa Park. Next weekend I will be bartending a Friday wedding in Agoura Hills, and then am driving out to Indian Wells to bartend a two day executive retreat.
On Saturday, Shaken Not Stirred traveled to Lomita to bartend a 35th birthday party. I have done many 40th, 50th, 21st, 60th, and even 80th birthday parties, but this was my first time bartending while the host celebrated the big 35. It is an important milestone, and I think it is when men start realizing they better step it up a notch – time starts moving fast. The party was held at a very nice backyard at a Lomita home in the South Bay. I set up my portable bar in the gazebo, and if I could open my own bar there, I would.
The hosts created and chose the specialty drinks. I made one cocktail with vodka, hibiscus syrup, St. Germaine, and club soda. I garnished that with a hibiscus flower. Another drink was created by the birthday boy himself, and it had scotch whiskey, sweet vermouth, cherry liqueur, and bitters. It was kind of a scotch based Manhattan. I also made classic bourbon Manhattans.
35th Birthday Party Ideas
Hire a bartender
Invite people from all walks of life
Choose a theme
Serve great food
Make it memorable
The hosts were of Sri Lanka heritage and the food served was classic Sri Lanka style. I must admit, when I looked at the food I assumed it would be dry and bland. That could not have been further from the truth. The food was excellent and I cleaned my plate completely.
Another great experience bartending a private event for Shaken Not Stirred. Nice people, good food, and great atmosphere. I always like returning to the South Bay, my old stomping grounds where there is natural air conditioning from the ocean almost all the time.
Shaken Not Stirred, the LA mobile bartender service did three big events last weekend. On Friday night I traveled to my old home in the South Bay to do a cocktail party that was hired for at the last minute. On Saturday, I drove to Lancaster to bartend a wedding party that I booked months ago, and on Sunday I jammed down to Hollywood to bartend a birthday party. It was a great weekend for making drinks.
The Manhattan Beach party was held at a nice home on Ardmore Street that winds through the center of the beach community. If you have never visited Manhattan Beach, I urge you to do so, because it is a true gem of Los Angeles. The party was an anniversary of sorts – it marked the day that the host was paralyzed from the waste down in a freak diving accident. He told me about it and I realized how lucky I have been, because that could have happened to me a dozen times over, in the ocean, and in swimming pools. Probably 50 or 60 people showed up for the party and I made simple vodka drinks. It was a great party and I was so glad they hired me. Hopefully I will do it again next year.
On Saturday, I drove out to Lancaster to bartend the wedding party at the Lancaster Museum of Art and History. It is a very nice venue and they have an event space on the roof perfect for weddings. At some point during the planning, the bride and groom decided to only serve wine and non alcoholic drinks for the wedding reception. They didn’t even serve beer. I had about five different types of wine, and as I have said many times – people will drink what is available, even if they prefer something else. I will admit that by serving wine only, it cut down on the level of drunkenness, and everyone seemed to have a good time.
LA Mobile Bartender
Travels all over LA and surrounding counties
Carries portable bar and table
Brings large cooler and bar kit
Helps with drink menu and shopping list
ABC Leads certified
On Sunday, I drove to Hollywood to bartend a man’s birthday. He had a similar reason for celebrating as the man in Manhattan Beach. He told me that he had almost died of kidney failure three years ago, and tries to do something special each year on his birthday as a survivor. It was a small party in his apartment that was attended by mostly family members, and I tried to be of service as much as I could.
This weekend I will be doing two parties – one in the South Bay again, in Lomita, and then on Sunday I am driving all the way to San Diego to bartend a birthday party. The LA mobile bartender, Shaken Not Stirred covers all of Southern California, from the mountains to the sea.
Last night, Shaken Not Stirred provided bartending service for a 40th birthday party in Torrance. The South Bay is my old stomping ground, and the parties in the South Bay tend to be ragers. This party was no exception, as the birthday boy rang in his 40th year in true South Bay style. Let’s just say that I served a bunch of vodka, tequila, single malt scotch, and even moonshine. It was some of that moonshine they are selling in the mason jars at the liquor stores, but it is still 100 proof. I once drank real backwoods moonshine from Tennessee, and I woke up driving through Tijuana.
Backyard 40th Birthday Party Ideas
Hire an experienced bartender
Hire a caterer
Make a theme
Offer specialty cocktails
The hosts had a very nice back deck that was adorned with dozens of beautiful succulents. This was a neighborhood in Torrance bordering Redondo Beach and there was a great view from the backyard of the Palos Verdes Peninsula, and Redondo Beach in the near distance. The weather was perfect for a backyard party, and they had a nice bar and barbecue area, and a fire pit.
Sierra Madre Catering provided the food, and they had all kinds of interesting goodies, including mac and cheese, refried beans, pulled pork sliders, mini Philly Cheese steaks, and more. Servers kept roaming the crowd with trays of goodies all night. I served my fresh grapefruit drinks, Palomas and Greyhounds. Single Malt scotch was quite popular and many of the guests brought some nice bottles of liquor to the party and some of them were consumed.
Tonight, I am staying in the San Fernando Valley to bartend a Southern themed birthday party in Encino. I am making some drinks I have never made before for that one, so I need to study up. Next weekend I have a party booked in Hancock Park, and then later in the month I have events in Eagle Rock, and will be doing a special event at the Venice Art Fair that I am excited about.
Saturday, Shaken Not Stirred was in La Quinta to provide bartending service for a backyard wedding and reception. The whole Coachella Valley is full of rental houses that are perfect for doing these kinds of events. This particular property where the wedding was held is called the Mountain View Retreat, and it was perfect for a wedding of this size. The ceremony was held in one section of the backyard, and the dinner and reception was held on another part of the property.
I worked with the bride through emails planning the drink menu and shopping list. We came up with one drink, which we called the “Ziggy Stardust”, that had mescal, fresh grapefruit juice, and simple syrup. I also did the Sazerac cocktail, which we called the “Major Tom”. A third cocktail was champagne with St. Germain. Approximately 50 guests enjoyed the wedding and reception at the Mountain View retreat. Once again, there was a threat of rain, which would have really caused problems, but it didn’t materialize.
F10 Catering of Palm Springs provided the catering for the backyard wedding. They served a gourmet 4 course meal to the guests who were seated at tables on the lawn. F10 Catering is connected to the restaurant, Cheeky’s in Palm Springs. If you have not eaten at Cheeky’s I urge you to try it – it is that restaurant on Palm Canyon where you always see a line of people standing on the sidewalk, waiting to get in. One indication of how good the food was. Kris Holmes provided DJ Service, and I must say he had a unique playlist, which was very good, and he didn’t play the standard clichés that all Dj’s insist on playing.
Backyard Wedding Advantages
Save money compared to a hotel
Hire your own vendors
Provide your own alcohol and supplies
More privacy and freedom
Next weekend I will stay in the Los Angeles area for two birthday parties. On Friday I will return to the South Bay to bartend a birthday party in Torrance, and then on Saturday I will bartend a Southern themed party in Encino. I just booked an art fair in Venice later this month, and will return to Eagle Rock for a repeat client party.
Sunday, I returned to Glendora to bartend the second annual super bowl party (that I have been involved in). The host asked me back again, and I was delighted, because he has a killer backyard bar that is perfect for throwing big bashes. The weather was beyond perfect and about 80 guests enjoyed the game and cocktails provided by me.
The host asked me to create some specialty drinks, so I thought of some theme drinks, based on the teams playing. For the Carolina panthers, I created Carolina Sweet Tea, which has vodka, a splash of peach schnapps, and Popeye’s Sweet Tea. I served this at a wedding and it was a huge hit – so much so that we had to go out and get more sweet tea. The tea didn’t over so well at the super bowl party, because there did not seem to be many Carolina fans in the house. I also created the Orange Crush in honor of the Broncos, and that was simply Orange Crush and vodka. The hit drinks of the night ended up being the second string drinks – Jalapeno margaritas, and peach margaritas.
I saw many of the same people that came last year and many of them sat in the same seats. I made a lot of blended concoctions and the bar is well stocked. We had one big screen television behind the bar, and he had another TV at a secondary bar, and a projection TV set up. They had a bounce house set up to keep the kids busy.
Halfway through the game somebody called out, “Who owns a white Mustang parked across the street?” I raised my hand, thinking maybe I was parked in front of a fire hydrant or something. The guy told me I had better come out and look at it. I walked out to the street and saw my trusty steed in pieces. A guy driving by in a monster truck had side swiped it with his big tires. I really didn’t have time to deal with the situation, and was not upset – the guy stopped and gave his insurance info. Stuff happens, and I had bartending to do – the show must go on. Fortunately, some people who lived across the street who had nothing to do with the accident zip tied my bumper back on so I could drive home. Everything worked out fine. That car has taken me to over 200 events and hopefully will be up to 200 more.
The super bowl party was really buzzing by the end of the game and most of the guests were elated by the outcome. I really wasn’t able to watch the game, because I was busy, which is how I like it. The host says he is not having it again next year, but I hope he changes his mind. Next weekend is Valentine’s Day and I will be bartending a wedding in the South Bay for my associate Mia Martini. Late rthis month I will be returning to Palm Springs to bartend two weddings. I am still open on February 20th at this point, so if you need a bartender for that date, please call me.
Saturday Night, Shaken Not Stirred was contracted to provide bartending services at a party in Wilmington, just adjacent to the docks of the Port of Los Angeles. This was my first event in Wilmington, and I hope the first of many. Wilmington gets a bad wrap around town as a tough area, but I must say the neighborhood where the party was held was quite charming, and tucked away from the chaos of Los Angeles. At this particular party four bands performed until two in the morning.
I set up my portable bar in the back yard and was open for business. I served the usual vodka drinks, including Screwdrivers, Cape Cods, Sea Breeze. I also served whiskey drinks, wine and they had a half keg on hand. By the end of the night there was literally nothing left, except for a couple bottles of Riesling. One guy walked up to me with a half cup full of whisky and coke, and asked if there was anything left. I had a half bottle of red wine open, and he told me to pour it on – on top of the whiskey and coke.
As I was breaking down, the South Bay band, June Holiday was still playing. Gary Dayton Hill of Malibu warmed up the crowd with some country songs, he was followed by South Gate band, The Night Times played a few numbers, then another band was on, that I didn’t get the name of because I was so busy. A DJ spun a great mix between sets, and I must say the entertainment was top notch all evening. This had to be the most memorable party I have ever done.
I am a very busy mobile bartender this month of March. I have events in Palm Springs, and Brentwood next weekend, and then am returning to Palm Springs again on Monday to do a special event for Torani, the Italian Syrup company. I am getting some of these events because I have excellent reviews on Thumbtack, Yelp, and Gig Salad. I have made some mistakes as a party planner and bartender, but have never been late or cancelled a gig, and I have always gotten the job done.
In other news, I will put in a plug for my novel, “Palm Avenue,” and I need some likes on the Facebook page. The 200th person to like the page will receive a free book. The spring party and wedding season is booking up quickly, so I suggest you book your event now.
Saturday, Shaken Not Stirred traveled across the San Fernando Valley to Northridge to bartend a 60th birthday party. I have bartended almost every landmark birthday party, from the 40th, the 50th, to 21st. I was the bartender at a lady’s 90th birthday party. Her daughter hosted the party and hired a Hawaiian trio to play music and the birthday girl couldn’t have been happier. Last night, the birthday celebrant’s husband threw the 60th birthday party for his wife and the theme was back to the 60’s. Everyone dressed as either the mod, the square, or the hippie. The host spent all afternoon painstakingly putting together a playlist from the 60’s and 70’s.
I had corresponding specialty drinks the mod was the Belvedere martini, with a twist or an olive. The square was the Old Fashioned, and the hippie was the Dark and Stormy. I made the Dark and Stormy with the finest ingredients: Gosling’s Black Seal rum, with Gosling’s Ginger Beer, a dash of bitters, and fresh squeezed lime juice. I never had that drink when I was drinking and it certainly looks interesting. It was a hit at the Northridge party.
The host had contracted me to make a shopping list and then do the shopping. That is a service I provide for an extra fee. Many times the people who hire me don’t have time to do the shopping themselves. This time I bought all of the liquor and wine on the Bevmo website. It was great, because when I went in to pick it up it was all ready and they had a specific person in charge of internet orders take care of me. I was in and out of there within five minutes. I buy everything else at Smart and Final, which has the best deals on cups, sodas, and everything else.
The party was a success, and I hope that they hire me again. February was kind of slow for me, but I have several events lined up this month. I have five events scheduled in Palm Springs in March, and all on weekdays, so I still have two Saturdays open. Next Friday I am doing a wedding rehearsal in Palm Springs, and then have a birthday party to bartend on Saturday night in Wilmington, in the South Bay.
I have other news that I want to share with my readers here. Last week I launched my first novel, Palm Avenue, and here is the blog for that, with a link to Facebook page. I am giving free books away for certain milestones on the Facebook page. Here is the link to buy the paperback book on Amazon. The ebook version will be available in near future.