Cherry Valley Wedding

26 Oct

Saturday night, shaken Not Stirred dispatched two bartenders to Cherry Valley to man the bar at a wedding at the scenic Edward Dean Museum. Cherry Valley is just a little west of the Morongo Casino at the base of the hills. Approximately 130 guests gathered at the museum to celebrate the wedding. The museum has a terrace area and stage where they set up the bar and tables and the weather was perfect for an October wedding.

We were scheduled to arrive at four to set up the bar and start serving at five. Traffic was heavy and we arrived right on time. The ceremony ended earlier than expected and guests started lining up for cocktails at about 4:30 before were done setting up. We handled it and served everyone in the line pretty fast, but that shows how important being on time is. Had we been fifteen or twenty minutes late it would have been a disaster. I never like cutting it that close and that is why when I travel long distances, I like to get into the area two or three hours before the event. I have NEVER been late to an event yet, and don’t intend to start doing so.  My son, Willie assisted me and was invaluable as always.

We served Cotton Candy martinis and White Russians (Caucasians) as specialty drinks. Fortunately, we had real martini glasses. The Cotton Candy martini is made with vodka, cranberry juice, pineapple juice, and then topped off with a wisp of cotton candy. It sounded a bit sweet for me, but was popular with the ladies. The Caucasian, as the Big Leibowski calls them, is vodka, Kahlua, and cream. That one you have to be careful with if drinking. It has a habit of sneaking up on you and biting you right in the ass. We drained a sixteen gallon keg right about the time the party was over.

The wedding seemed to be a grand success. The bride and groom looked very happy together and I wish them the absolute best. The venue required that the place be cleared by 11pm, and so the wedding party ended abruptly at 10, and everyone helped break the whole thing down. It was amazing, that within minutes all of the tables and everything was cleared.

Next weekend I am driving back out that way again to bartend a birthday party in Palm Springs. I have more event scheduled in Woodland Hills, Westlake Village, and Orange County later in November. Then the busy Christmas party season begins.

 

Cherry Valley

Cherry Valley

Tables set up at Edward Dean Museum

Tables set up at Edward Dean Museum

Willie guarding the tip jar

Willie guarding the tip jar

The bouquet toss

The bouquet toss

Palmdale Grand Opening Bartender

25 Oct
Rob bartending in Palmdale

Rob bartending in Palmdale

Palmdale Mayor, James Ledford Jr.

Palmdale Mayor, James Ledford Jr.

Rob getting an awesome chair massage

Rob getting an awesome chair massage

Shaken Not Stirred traveled to Palmdale again Friday to bartend the grand opening of a new business. This was strictly a non-alcoholic event and I served virgin Pina Colladas, and Cucumber Coolers, along with several other soft drinks. I have another non-alcoholic event scheduled next month, and I have several interesting drink recipes I am going to try on that one. I brought my portable bar to the Palmdale grand opening, and a server.

The mayor of Palmdale, James Ledford Jr. was on hand for the ribbon cutting ceremony. He must be doing something right because he has served 11 terms as mayor of that city. I have got to give it to him, he delivered a pretty articulate and smooth speech for the ribbon cutting ceremony. He certainly has the public speaking skills of a seasoned politician. It was the first grand opening/ribbon cutting ceremony I have had the pleasure of working, and I hope to do many more.

They had two massage therapists on hand at the event, who were giving complimentary chair massages to promote their service. My server and I each had a five minute massage. The girl who was working on me discovered several knots in my back and she really worked them out quickly. I must say, my back feels 100 percent better after that and I highly recommend them, Allied Physical Medicine, in Palmdale.

The company that was having the grand opening is MY CARE Professionals, and they provide in home care for seniors in Los Angeles County. The directors of the company seemed like super people and I wish them the best with their new office. I have done many corporate events in the past year, and am bartending a non-profit event in Westlake village next week.

After I post this, I will start preparing for a wedding today in Cherry Valley at the Edward Dean Museum. This will be my first time working this venue. Next weekend I will be bartending in Palm Springs on Saturday, and it would be nice to get a Halloween party there on Friday night.

 

 

Palmdale Engagement Party Bartender

19 Oct

Last night I was the party bartender at a Palmdale backyard engagement party. I have worked many backyard engagement parties, weddings, Christenings, and birthday parties that were very nice. The party rental companies come out and set up a tent and all of the tables. For last night’s party I used my portable bar and set up in one corner of the yard next to the photo booth. The DJ sets up in another area, and the caterer in another. I forgot to bring my camera and had to take pictures with my phone that didn’t come out so good, but you get the idea what it looks like.

As a party bartender, I tend to always be loaded for bear – meaning that I prepare for the busiest possible circumstances. The engagement party last night had 125 guests in attendance, and I was bartending by myself, so I had to make sure I had everything I needed at my disposal. Unlike many other parties I have bartended recently, the guests at this event were drinkers and I served out of all of the alcohol and most of the beer by the time I finished at eleven.

To give you an idea, that was three 1.75 bottles of vodka, five 750ml bottles of Ciroc vodka, eight cases of beer, and seven bottles of wine. So, I by myself served hundred of drinks. I had a steady flow of customers coming to the bar for five hours straight. I am not complaining, I like it that way. I enjoy bartending, and going to new places every weekend, and meeting a whole new group of people. One of my customers said it – “Everybody loves a party bartender.” It’s true, I have had mostly positive experiences on every job I have done.

This was the third event I have bartended in the Palmdale/Lancaster, Antelope

Mariachis at Palmdale engagement party

Mariachis at Palmdale engagement party

Portable bar set up

Portable bar set up

Backyard engagement party

Backyard engagement party

Mongols on the loose!

Mongols on the loose!

Valley area. I don’t mid driving out there, but the road at night can be a little dicey. For some reason, and this doesn’t happen often in California, but people like to drive the speed limit in the fast lane on Highway 14. It creates a dangerous situation as cars driving faster try to get around the slow moving cars. Last night I passed on the right hand side four members of the Mongol’s Motorcycle “club” driving in the fast lane. That was a little unnerving.

I had many calls to do Halloween parties next weekend, but I had to turn them down, because I am bartending a wedding in the Inland Empire. I am still available on Friday, October 31 for a Halloween party and will probably get one. Next month I have several birthday parties booked and a corporate event. I was thinking that November might be the lull before the Holiday season. The fact is that Los Angeles and Southern California is home to millions of people, and thousands of them are going to be hiring bartenders on any given month.

Los Angeles Bartending Service Goes Mobile for Three Events

13 Oct

Shaken Not Stirred, the Los Angeles bartending service went mobile this weekend and did three fantastic events in Encino, Temecula, and San Diego.  This was the second weekend in a row where I have done three events, and I am truly grateful.  I am getting calls from Google searches, which is the reason I write this blog. My Yelp page is also very helpful.

My first event was a surprise 30th birthday party in Encino. The host called me on Wednesday and asked if I was available for Friday. He called from my Yelp profile. I love getting last minute calls and if I am available I will most likely do them. I brought my martini glasses for the party and people drank dirty vodka martinis, Cosmos, and Cucumber martinis. The guest of honor was truly surprised and seemed to be elated by the party her husband arranged. I have said this before, but it is kind of cool to be present at important milestones in people’s lives.  Unfortunately, I forgot my camera and didn’t get any good

Future brides at Temecula wedding

Future brides at Temecula wedding

Crowded dance floor in Temecula

Crowded dance floor in Temecula

Shots!

Shots!

pictures.

On Saturday I had to drive out to Temecula to do a wedding that I booked months ago. When I booked the job, I didn’t realize that getting to Temecula is quite a journey. I had to transition on about five different freeways. The traffic was very heavy and I arrived right on time. Mia helped me with this one, and as always did a fantastic job. The signature cocktail was the Ciaprioska, which is like the Caipriana, but uses vodka instead of rum. The recipe requires muddling brown sugar with limes and pouring over vodka and ice, and then adding a splash of soda. They provided regular granulated sugar which is not quite the same, but we made it work. We operated two separate bars, inside and outside the house. In the end, I think the bride and groom were very happy.

On Sunday I booked a last minute gig in San Diego. I normally don’t do events in San Diego, but since it is quite close to Temecula I decided to do it. The event was held in a sukkah, which is a traditional tent constructed for the Jewish harvest festival of Sukkot. I did a presentation and gin tasting for forty men in the sukkah. It was a great experience. I researched the four gins we served, Bombay Sapphire, Old Tom, Hendricks, and Plymouth Navy Strength, and gave a brief presentation on the history of gin.  Everybody seemed to have a great time.  So, this was a weekend where mobile was the key word in mobile Los Angeles bartending service.

Next weekend I go mobile again and am doing an engagement party in Palmdale. I have a wedding to do on the 25th in the Inland Empire, and then a birthday party to do in Palm Springs on November 1. I am still available to do a Halloween party on October 31. I have had calls to do Halloween parties on October 25, but was not available.

 

Porter Ranch Christening Party

6 Oct

Sunday night, Shaken Not Stirred provided bartending services for the third time in the weekend at a Christening party at a home in Porter Ranch. I never know what to expect when I show up to an event. I have to assume that people are going to drink a lot and I am going to be very busy for seven hours straight and I have to prepare for that. There were over 100 people at this party and I was working by myself, so I had the potential to be very busy. I did have an initial rush of people at the beginning and was steadily busy for awhile, then it dropped off. This was a Sunday party.

People have events and they serve alcohol. Most people drink responsibly and not all parties are huge blow outs, where we have to go for more booze. This was a very mellow event on a Sunday night and I must say was just what I needed to end up a busy weekend. Somebody asked me how my night was going and I said “perfect”. I mean, who can complain when you are listening to good music, seeing and meeting beautiful people who are all dressed up, making money, and eating wonderful food? Not me.

Speaking of food, the meal they served at this party was excellent. I have eaten all kinds of food at all kinds of events and some of it is mediocre. This meal, was catered by the host’s father. He owns an Italian Deli in Thousand Oaks called Benvenuti

Mirrored bar and drink menu at Porter Ranch

Mirrored bar and drink menu at Porter Ranch

Friends and family celebrate

Friends and family celebrate

Shots!

Shots!

. The Chicken Marsala they served at the party was out of this world, it was so tender. They also had lasagna which was very good and pasta salad and veggies. I highly recommend them, if you are having a party anywhere in the San Fernando or Conejo Valleys.

I served a case of Prosecco, and had to pour half of the last bottle out at the end of the night. That is what I call a successful party. We had just enough. The signature drink the host chose in honor of her daughter’s christening was the Madras. Vodka, cranberry juice, and a splash of orange juice. I also served a lot of Johnny Walker Black Label, and Stella Artois beer.

When I’m not busy behind the bar I try to help keep the tables cleared of cups and bottles. This is something I have just been trained to do over the years working at fine dining establishments. The hosts and guests always seem to appreciate that. Next weekend I have a wedding to bartend in Temecula, and am in negotiations to bartend an anniversary party the following weekend in Palmdale. I’m coming up on a year anniversary myself of when I quit my full time job, and I must say I am loving every minute of it.

Venice Post-Wedding Luau

5 Oct

Shaken Not Stirred performed bartending services for the second event of a three event weekend at a Venice, California post wedding luau.

The Newly-weds at their Venice luau

The Newly-weds at their Venice luau

Fully decorated tiki bar

Fully decorated tiki bar

Me behind the bar in Venice, California

Me behind the bar in Venice, California

Traditional Polynesian fire show

Traditional Polynesian fire show

The couple was married earlier in the year, but had family in from out of the country and decided to throw a Hawaiian themed event in their backyard for their friends and family.  They really spent a lot of time decorating and had a time and place tunnel that guests had to walk through when entering the party that takes them to “Hawaii”.

When I arrived the whole backyard was already full of people.  I panicked, thinking I was late and had the times mixed up. The host informed me I wasn’t late. I have never been late to an event yet, and don’t want to break my record. Even though I was on time, I was thrown right into the fire. Guests started lining up at the bar right away and I had to start making Pina Colladas, Mai Tais, and Blue Hawaiians right away. These are the standard drinks at all Luaus and there are different variations of them.

They had a Hawaiian trio, Lei Aloha, performing music and the food was provided by King’s Hawaiian Bakery. They had some of the best Hawaiian pork I have ever tasted. When the sun went down, the temperature cooled down nicely and I continued to make tropical drinks. The hosts had purchased some plastic coconut cups that were kind of fun. Many of the guests at the party were visiting from Holland and it was nice meeting and talking to all of them. I have a good friend in Holland, Big Pete, who is a successful musician, and I will give him a shout out here.

I have history in this particular neighborhood in Venice. I used to hang out with a girl and we would dog sit some dogs just down the street from where the party was held. We used to walk the dogs in that neighborhood and admire all of the cute houses in the area, fantasizing that we would someday own one of them. I recognized the address when I booked the party.

The highlight of the party was a performance at the end of the evening by some traditional Hawaiian dancers, Tausala Polynesia. They got the guests involved for a couple numbers, and then did a traditional fire show as their finale. Tonight, I do it again as I bartend a Christening here in the San Fernando Valley, in Porter Ranch. Two very successful events down this weekend, one to go.

Malibu Canyon Pre-Wedding Cocktail Party

4 Oct

Shaken Not Stirred provided bartending services at a pre-wedding cocktail party in Malibu Canyon on Friday night. Malibu Canyon, also known as Las Virgenes Canyon is one the most beautiful areas in the Los Angeles area, and the party was hosted at a fantastic home south of Mulholland Highway. We served Margaritas, beer and wine to approximately 100 guests. It was a very successful event.

The host didn’t want to use store bought Margarita mix and so I agreed to make home made mix. I had never made Margarita mix before, but was up to the challenge. I have recently made cucumber syrup and mint syrup, so was eager to try Margarita mix. I used limes from the store, lemons from the tree in the backyard which are very juicy, and simple syrup. I made three gallons of the stuff. When I first tried it I felt it was very sour, but after it set in the refrigerator for two days it tasted just right.

The Margarita mix was a big hit at the party. We used all three gallons of the hom made margarita mix and had to break into the store bought mix they had on hand. We also served 805 Ale, which seems to becoming popular, Pacifico, Modelo, and Stella Artois. We served completely out of Pinot Grigio, and
Chardonnay. One nice surprise at the party was that I ran into a couple whom I bartended for at their wedding a few months ago. They were happy to see me and then the host of thise party remembered me from their wedding. The private bartending scene is getting smaller in Los Angeles.

I was a having trouble to get any of my regular helpers to help me on this Friday night job. A girl had sent me her resume out of the blue from my Yelp

Home made Margarita mix

Home made Margarita mix

Guests mingling in Malibu Canyon

Guests mingling in Malibu Canyon

Desiree, my new helper and I in Malibu Canyon

Desiree, my new helper and I in Malibu Canyon

ad. I was nervous using her because I didn’t spend a lot of time interviewing her, but she showed up on time and did a great job. I will definitely use her again. She said that she sent emails out to every Los Angeles bartending company on Yelp. That goes to show you that there are jobs (albeit temporary) for people who actually want them.

Tonight I am bartending by myself at a post-wedding party in Venice, and then tomorrow am bartending a Christening party in Porter Ranch. This is busy weekend for Shaken Not Stirred and I hope one of many in the near future. Next weekend I am bartending a wedding at a winery in Temecula and it will be my first bartending job out there. So far I don’t have a Halloween party booked for October 31, and hope to get one.

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