Tag Archives: wine

La Quinta Costume Party and Eagle Rock Wedding

3 Nov

Friday night I worked a small costume party at a private residence in La Quinta. As I do more and more jobs I am starting to know neighborhoods – this place was just across the street from where I did another job. The house had a very nice granite bar, as most of the homes in La Quinta do. The bar was stocked with just about everything. There were probably thirty guests and most were dressed in costume. I dressed as Lloyd the bartender from “The Shining.” I don’t know if everybody from the party got that. I told one lady who I was supposed to be, and she recoiled immediately – “Get away from me! Not THAT creepy bartender!”

It was nice serving drinks in real glassware for a change. Most of the guests drank wine, but I made a few classic martinis and some mixed drinks. The guests had a short cocktail hour and then dined by the pool. It was a very nice and low key party, and I was happy to do it. I like going to the Palm Springs/Indian Wells/La Quinta area and the season is just gearing up out there.  Somebody called me Saturday morning and wanted me to do a last minute day time gig in Palm Springs, but I had to decline because I had to get to the wedding in Eagle Rock that was booked months in advance. Somebody else called me to do a gig in Orange County and I had to decline that one too.  

Saturday night I bartended the wedding in Eagle Rock. It was held at the 20th Century Women’s Club

"I've always been the bartender"

“I’ve always been the bartender”

The 20th Century Women's Club back yard

The 20th Century Women’s Club back yard

of Eagle Rock. This was the first time I had ever worked that venue. It is a very cool old building with a nice back yard where the ceremony was held. It seemed like a very nice place to hold a wedding and was a very relaxed atmosphere compared to some of the venues I have worked.

The specialty drinks of the night were the bride’s special, which was El Presidente brandy and Horchata, and the groom’s special which was strawberry lemonade and Tangueray gin. I served a lot of wine and beer also. This party was booked months in advance, which I suppose is the right way to do it. They hired four servers from another company and rented glassware. I can also provide servers and glassware –ask me for a quote. In the end, many of the guests helped break down and clean up the party, which I have never seen before. If you are thinking about having a holiday or birthday party or any other kind of event in November or December book it now!

Chatsworth Engagement Party

22 Sep

Shaken Not Stirred manned another successful back yard event last night – an engagement party in Chatsworth. Over 100 people attended the party and it seemed a great time was had by all. Although I wasn’t contracted to bring a barback, I brought my son, Willie, to train him. As it turned out I really needed him and he was a big help. I usually recommend having a barback or second bartender for parties over 100 people.

As you see in the pictures, the “bar” was made up of six foot folding tables covered by table cloths and that worked just great. People often ask me if I have a bar for rent, or if they should rent a bar. Bar rentals cost as much as $300 a night, and it really isn’t necessary. In fact, I prefer working with the table set up, because there is more room and the table is usually just the right height. The moral of this story is, unless you think a real bar will make your party look that much better, it really isn’t necessary – a folding table with table cloth works just fine. If you have a home bar already, great!

A friend of the engaged couple donated the beer and it was a big hit. The beer we served was St. Archer Blonde Ale and is brewed at St. Archer Brewery in San Diego. We went through at least four cases over the course of the night. As the weather gets cooler, wine becomes more popular. We served several bottles of various red wines, and several bottles of white, as well as a few bottles of champagne. This was a younger crowd, so they drank quite a bit.

Traditional Persian cuisine was served including lula, chicken, and beef kebobs, saffron rice, and other traditional dishes. I was so busy that I didn’t get a card from the caterer, which I usually try to do. They had a DJ and a dance floor also and the party went on until after midnight.

Party before the action

Party before the action

Willie in training mode

Willie in training mode

Party raging...

Party raging…

Table bar setup

Table bar setup

Holiday season is fast approaching and I have booked one Halloween party so far. I still have a few weddings booked in October and early November and then I imagine the focus will shift to Christmas and New Year’s Eve. parties. It is best to book early. Shaken Not Stirred serves all of Los Angeles County, and we also go to Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Ventura Counties. In fact, we’ll go anywhere for the right price.  

Idyllwild Wedding Turned into an Upland Wedding

22 Jul

Early last week I heard reports of a fire burning out of control near Idyllwild, California. I was scheduled to bartend a wedding on Saturday at the Quiet Creek Inn at Idyllwild Pine Cove. On Wednesday my client emailed me and informed me that the wedding had been moved to the bride’s parent’s house in Upland. I was just happy that the wedding was going to happen and quickly switched my plans. The girl I had hired to help me actually lived in Upland, so she was happy.

I guess the family and friends of the bride and groom came together and scrambled to make the wedding happen on schedule. I must say it was a great save, and if the married couple is this adaptable throughout their marriage, they should do fantastic. The wedding came off well with around 80 guests in Upland on Saturday, July 20th. As the festivities were starting it began raining, making us wonder if the universe was not in line with this wedding, but the rain subsided and the ceremony went on.

My client requested that two specialty drinks be on the menu: the Pink Penny, which consisted of Gin, Rose syrup, peach juice, grapefruit juice, and lemon juice, and the Clementine Fizzy, which was sparkling wine, St. Germaine, peach juice and a dash of lemon juice. Interesting drinks I had never made before and I think they came off well. As a result of having the St. Germaine, which is an Elderflower liqueur, I created two new drinks. The first being what I call a G&G tonic, which is a Gin and tonic with a splash of St. Germaine. The other is a V&G tonic, which is the same thing, except made with vodka. People just loved it!

Beers for the night included Model Especial, and Negro, Hanger Wheat Ale, and Pyramid Hefeweizen. The groom provided several nice bottles of red and white wine but nobody drank any wine – I have found that to be the case on most summer events. We did go through a case of champagne, though. I used probably three cases of Arrowhead water and we were completely out by the end of the night. My suggestion is to buy plenty of water and it may be less expensive and more eco-friendly to buy gallons of water and have the bartender pour it into cups.

Catering was provided by Guerrilla Tacos. I have done many events with taco carts, but I must say these were very unique. He had some of the best salsa I have ever tasted. By the time my barback and I were able to grab something all the meat was gone. The caterer made me some vegetarian tacos that were just excellent, and I don’t have a vegetarian bone in my body. The caterer was also supposed to go to Idyllwild, but changed his plans as well. Everyone was flexible and everything worked out great.

I have had events nearly every weekend this month but don’t have much yet booked for next month, so make your plans for August now. I have not yet done any class reunions this year and would love to do some. Shaken Not Stirred services the entire Southern California area, including the LA Basin, The San Fernando Valley, The Inland Empire, Palm Springs, Ventura County and Santa Barbara to the west.

Fire burning near Idyllwild, California

Fire burning near Idyllwild, California

Tustin MMA Event and Indian Wells Birthday Party

21 Oct

Last weekend I worked an MMA fight event at the Encore Dinner Theater in Tustin. I was basically called in to help their two regular bartenders because they were expecting over 300 people for this event. The turnout was at least that many and needless to say we were busy. I was basically a bar back, but I probably poured 500 beers. Bud Light was probably the biggest seller, followed by Stella Artois and Corona. I didn’t get to see any of the action because I was in the service bar, but it sounded exciting. There were many drinkers and the regular bartender made a lot of drinks – Long Island Ice Teas were probably the most popular. The Encore Dinner Theater was a nice venue and I guess it has been recently renovated. They put on all kinds of shows there besides just dinner theater.     

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Last night I bartended a birthday party at a private home in Indian Wells. It was my first time to that community in the Coachella Valley and I hope to go back there again. I stayed at the Indian Wells Resort Hotel and the rates were very reasonable for that nice of a place. There are many resorts right in the same area and they are huge. The Miramonte resort right across the street is incredible. I went over there to check it out and I got lost in the grounds and probably had to walk a mile to get out of there. So, I had a nice bartending gig, and a nice little getaway all in one.

The party I worked at Indian Wells was a birthday party and they had probably 25 guests. We set up a makeshift bar with using a long table and a table cloth. I helped the host make a drink menu and shopping list. At the end, they had a lot of alcohol left over, but I’m sure it will go to good use at another party. I made margaritas, and by the request of the host – the drink of the night was Rockstar and Soju (Korean rice liquor). The hostess served dinner salmon, braised beef, sushi, and salad to 25 people and it was very good. I was impressed how she set up heated serving trays and everything almost all by herself and was so efficient. We used plastic cups for the mixed drinks, but real wine glasses for the wine, which is always a nice touch. Overall, a very nice event, and the kind that I really like to work.

Halloween weekend is next week and so far I have no event scheduled – so please call me if you need a bartender for your Halloween party. I have other bartenders that I can send out as well, male and female. I am based out of the San Fernando Valley, but will go almost anywhere in Southern California and can also provide servers if you need them. My rates are affordable, I am LEADS certified, and I make great drinks!

Boy’s Town Fundraiser in San Juan Capistrano

1 Oct

Father Flannigan started Boy’s Town in 1917 in Omaha, Nebraska to help boys in trouble. Since then, the Organization has thrived and has helped thousands of adolescents and families all over America. Last Saturday night I worked a fundraiser in San Juan Capistrano for the Orange County Boy’s Town facility located in Trabuco Canyon. The event was attended by seventy people including representatives from Boy’s Town, Orange County, and even boys whose lives were transformed by the organization. Though I was working the event – I heard the message – Boy’s Town seems to be a very worthy cause and organization.

The Event was hosted at a private home on the beautiful Marbella Country Club. I contracted two servers, Meggan and Mia to help me and was very pleased with both of them. They showed up on time, which to me is fifty percent of the gig, and they knew what to do. I did not have to supervise them. We poured Chardonay,  Pinot Noir, Zinfindel, and Cabernet, with the various courses of food we served.

Food included bruchetta and rolled salami and cheese, followed by Chicken Marsella with pasta, and eggplant parmesan. Guests mingled in the spacious back patio and ate standing at high cocktail tables. It seemed to work out very well, and we kept refilling their wine. Each guest was provided with one wine glass in the beginning and used that same glass to taste each of the various wines. Nobody complained, and overall it was a very good group. A live piano player provided the ambiance. I was impressed that the host seemed to have guessed the correct amount of wine to buy, because when we were done we were down to two bottles.

Shaken Not Stirred also serves Los Angeles, Ventura, and parts of Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. We will even go to San Diego. Shaken Not Stirred provides bartenders and servers for all kinds of events including fundraisers, corporate events, birthday parties, engagements parties, barbecues, weddings, anniversaries, wakes, bachelor parties, graduations, and the list goes on and on. Please call today to plan your party. We can help you with a drink menu and shopping list.   Our prices are affordable and our staff is professional and dependable.

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Ten Year Class Reunion Event

24 Jun

Last night I bartended at my first ten year class reunion event in swanky Rancho Santa Fe. Rancho Santa Fe (north ofSan Diego) ranks as one the priciest zip codes in the U.S., but the people attending and organizing last night’s event couldn’t have been nicer. There were probably seventy people in attendance, and everybody seemed to have had a good time.

The reunion committee decided for the party that they would serve beer, wine, and unfortunately had only water as a non-alcoholic beverage. I noticed that several people weren’t drinking alcohol and were disappointed that there wasn’t more of a selection of non-alcoholic beverages. That is something to keep in mind if you are planning a party. Many people do not drink alcohol these days, and I think party planners should be more mindful of that. There are many exciting non-alcoholic beverages on the market.

They had several brands of beer available including Stone IPA, Fat Tire,Newcastle, Samuel Adams, and Corona. Stone IPA seemed to be the most popular among this crowd, with Newcastle coming in second. Corona is usually the most popular at the parties I do, but came in last as this reunion. Cupcake Cabernet was the most popular wine, followed by Kendall Jackson Chardonnay.

A typical casa in Rancho Santa Fe

 

As summer continues, I’m sure there will be many, many more class reunions taking place inSouthern California. Shaken Not Stirred will be happy to accommodate as many of them as possible. We have both male and female bartenders and servers available. We also have relationships with DJ’s, entertainers, photographers, and caterers. Make your summer event, class reunion, wedding, engagement party, pool party, or Fourth of July party memorable and stress free by hiring the event professionals at Shaken Not Stirred.

Shaken Not Stirred: Serving the Entire Los Angeles Area

3 May

I have bartended for all around Los Angeles for all kinds of events – small private birthday parties, corporate office parties, weddings, and large scale fundraisers. Last weekend I worked for another event company at a Cal State Long Beach, fundraiser that had over eight hundred guests in attendance. There were eight bartenders working the event and I manned one of the VIP bars. Needless, to say – we were busy. I was facing a wall of people waiting for drinks from 5pm to 10 pm. Basically I had no break that entire time.

This was good experience for me. I have done it before but it is always good to get thrown into the fire once in awhile because it prepares you for all kinds of situations that arise. Halfway through, I ran out limes and straws, I didn’t have enough wine bottles pre-opened, which slowed me down. I did the best I could and got through it, but I will definitely be better prepared next time. A good bartender anticipates problems before hand and takes extra precautions. I probably served hundreds of drinks at the fundraiser – I think most of the people were happy. I went through a case of Absolut vodka and at least three cases of wine and a bunch of everything else.

Spring is the season for many events – weddings, pool parties, concerts, and holiday parties. This Saturday night I will be working a private Cinco De Mayo party in Norwalk. Shaken Not Stirred is a Los Angeles bartending service and I travel all overLos Angeles,Orange, and Ventura counties doing gigs. I was offered a job in Palm Springs last week and was prepared to go, but the deal fell through. I’m sure the opportunity will come up again.

I love bartending part time. I like making good drinks that people enjoy and I love going into all different kinds of situations and areas in Southern California for new experiences. I can honestly say I have not had a bad experience at one of these gigs yet. The secret I think is that I serve people the way I would like to be served. I am happy bartending on a back yard picnic table or at a fancy marble poolside bar beside a waterfall. Shaken Not Stirred serves private and corporate events from Burbank to Beverly Hills, from Ojai to the City of Orange.