Tag Archives: specialty drinks

La Quinta Cocktail Party

11 Oct
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La Quinta Rental home across from Desert Trip

Sunday I got a last minute call to bartend a cocktail party in La Quinta. The call came at 10 am and they wanted me there by 1pm – La Quinta is 150 miles from my house. I told him I could be there by two. I put on my mobile bartender suit, loaded my cooler and bar kit and drove out there. Desert Trip, the three day music festival was going on just across the road from where I was bartending and 90,000 people were in town for that.

My job was simple, set up my portable bar by the pool and serve cocktails for an hour or two, and then serve wine at dinner. There were ten guests in from Maryland to attend the Desert Trip show and I was to serve them drinks before the show. I served Moscow Mules, Mexican Mules, and Kentucky Mules. The people that hired me were somehow connected to the Desert Trip promoters, and the guests I was serving were VIPS, also somehow connected to the promoters.

This was the second time Shaken Not Stirred went out to the Coachella Valley in two weeks. I go out there, when it is worth my while, and I always enjoy the area. The dramatic landscape just makes me feel good for some reason, and it is always nice to get a reprieve from LA. The group I was serving were all very nice and I made them all a couple of drinks a piece. This was a typical intimate cocktail party.

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Tequila shots at La Quinta cocktail party

Cocktail Party Procedure

  • Serve specialty drinks
  • Craft cocktails
  • Use appropriate glassware
  • Serve drinks on a tray

After the guests had a couple of cocktails, they all moved inside for dinner. A private chef was there and she prepared a fantastic four course dinner. She didn’t have a card and said she would email me her info, but has not done so yet. The meal included a rabbit pate appetizer, wild King Salmon filets, roasted chicken, and various fresh roasted vegetables. I served the wine and cleared the plates. I have alot of experience doing this and enjoy doing it for groups like this.

After dinner, the guests quickly left to attend the third night of Desert Trip. The Who and Rodger Waters were playing. I packed up and finished just in time to take in the presidential debate. On Wednesday I will be driving to Orange County to bartend an event for some of my best clients, and then on Saturday, I will be staying close to home and doing a birthday party in Woodland Hills.

Beverly Hills 10th Anniversary Party

1 Aug
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Bar prep at Beverly Hills 10th Anniversary party

Saturday I was honored to bartend for a 10th Anniversary party for some of my best clients. I have provided bartending services for this couple at least a dozen times at business related cocktail parties, film premiers, and wrap parties. This was the first personal type party that they hired me for and it was their biggest party to date.

Over 100 guests, including children drifted in and out during the four hour event. I served a lot of drinks very quickly. We had two specialty drinks including a Blackberry Mint Moscow Mule, and a Watermelon Cucumber Vodka cooler. I am able to make these labor intensive drinks for large groups of people because I make batches of several drinks at a time. I served out of the Moscow Mule toward the end of the party and was almost out of the Watermelon drink at the end.

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Blackberry Mint Moscow Mule

They have a pool in the backyard and hired a lifeguard to watch the kids, which is a great idea. I did another party recently where there were many kids swimming and no lifeguard. It only takes a few minutes for a tragedy to happen. Especially at a large party where alcohol is being served.

10th Anniversary Party Ideas

  • Hire a bartender
  • Invite friends and extended family
  • Hire performers
  • Renewal of vows

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    Guests mingle at Beverly Hills Anniversary party

Ella Freyinger provided the catering and she did a fantastic job, as always. I have worked with her before. This time they had barbecue chicken, tri tip, hotdogs and hamburgers for the kids, and a whole variety of summer side dishes, appetizers, and desserts. There was plenty of food and friends and family attended the 10th anniversary party from around the country.

I have a wedding coming up next weekend in Lancaster, but that is the only thing I have scheduled for this week. I was thinking that it is kind of slow, and I checked my schedule for last year around this time. Actually it was even slower for Shaken Not Stirred last year. It will pick up soon enough because before you know it the holiday season will be here. I have already booked some parties in October, November, and December, and have had inquiries for New Year’s Eve. and January. It is never too early to book your holiday parties. I am starting with a new booking service, and they say they will book me more work than I know what to do with six months in advance. I may have to hire some more bartenders.

Party Planning in Los Angeles

27 Jan

People planning special events and parties in theLos Angeles area often ask me for ideas for specialty drinks and what they will need to stock their bar. Of course everybody has a different budget. I have posted below some of my specialty drinks and some ideas of what to buy when hosting a party of 40 to 50 guests. This is assuming that the guests will be drinkers and I try to cover most bases. Some hosts prefer to limit the choices and that usually works just fine and keeps the cost down. A good bartender can suggest drinks to guests that they may not of thought of.

There are a few signature drinks I make:

Pomegranate Cosmo – Pom juice, Vodka, Rose’s Lime juice, garnished with a lime

Cadillac Margarita – Tequilla, Margarita mix, Gran Marnier floater


Dirty Martini
 – Vodka, olive juice, dry vermouthMai  Tai – White rum, pineapple juice, orange juice, grenadine, Myers rum floater

White Russian – Vodka, Kalua, Milk

Pomegranate Sunrise – Pom juice,

orange juice, Tequilla

Of course, I can make all of the other combinations with those ingredients.

You may want to just keep it simple and go with one or two of those and the usual Jack and Coke, gin and tonic, etc. Margartitas are usually popular.

For 40 to 50 people I would suggest the following:

2  1.75 ltr bottle of tequila

2  1.75 ltr bottles of vodka

1  750mltr bourbon

“           Gin

“           Scotch

“           White Rum

“           Kahlua

“           Dark rum

“           Dry Vermouth

1 large bottle of Margarita mix

1 bottle Rose’s lime

1 bottle sour mix

1 bottle triple sec

1 bottle Pom Juice

1 carton Orange juice

1 carton milk

12 pack Coke

12 pack 7 up

12 pack Diet Coke

48 bottled waters

2  2 liter bottles of club soda
12 limes2  2 liter bottles of tonic

Bar salt

1 jar of olives

2 12 packs beer

2 12 packs light beer

6 bottles white wine

6 bottles red wine

5 20 pound bags of ice

Box cocktail napkins

Box bar straws

Box bar picks

Of course there is probably going to be a lot of liquor left over, but this list should keep everybody happy and you won’t run out of key ingredients in the middle of the party. Also, the types of drinks that are popular tend to coincide with the food that is being served. I have worked parties where Mexican food was catered and in those cases beer and margaritas were the popular thing. Other parties have a majority of wine drinkers. Vodka seems to be the most popular liquor item because it mixes with so many things.

When buying for your party or special even in the L.A. area, BevMo is a good place to go when you are buying a lot of things and you can get a good discount with their card. Ralph’s offers a great discounts when you buy six bottles of wine at a time. Costco and Smart and Final are also good.  Some people want kegs of beer and I can advise them on that too – Vendome Liquor is good for kegs.

Please call me (310) 280-6103 or email me if you have any questions or need help planning your party. I can help you tailor a drink menu that coincides with your food menu.  In any case, don’t get stressed out when planning your party – let the professional bartenders at Shaken Not Stirred help you plan your party in Los Angeles.