Woodland Hills 50th Birthday Party

18 Apr

Last night was a rare occasion that I did a  party on a Thursday night – it was the host’s 50th birthday party and his office was closed the following day, Good Friday. A crowd of around fifty people arrived for the backyard event and even though it was Thursday, they partied like it was 1999. The host had set up a makeshift bar in his backyard using two folding tables with table clothes. This works just fine and saves people the expense of renting a bar. The tables just sit a little lower than a normal bar.  I have purchased a portable bar and can provide that for a minimal extra charge.

I consulted with the host about a drink menu and shopping list. He printed out a very nice list with all the wines and beers mentioned and the various drinks. He served some nice wines, including J Lohr Cabernet, and La Crema Chardonnay. Once again, the Cadillac Margarita was the big hit of the night. You just can’t go wrong with those, especially when you use a good tequila. The host was serving Gran Centenario Anejo tequila, which is a very good tequila and won’t break the bank. The tequila that I am also seeing a lot of now that is really good is Casadores Reposado. It is so much smoother than say, Cuervo gold. It really makes a big difference in the drinks.

I had a an assistant with me and she made drinks also. Whenever I bring an extra server, they are trained bartenders too, so they can jump in and help when needed. She made as many Cadillacs as I did. Taqueria El Tapatio

backyard24

My barback behind the makeshift bar

The crowd mingling

The crowd mingling

Shaken Not Stirred crew with incognito birthday boy

Shaken Not Stirred crew with incognito birthday boy

of Woodland Hills provided the catering, and they put out some pretty good tacos. Woodland Hills is my old stomping grounds and I have a lot of history in the San Fernando Valley, so it is always nice to go back there.  The host found Shaken Not Served through a Google search, which shows me that this blog is working.

I don’t have anything booked for this Saturday night, which will be the first times in months if I don’t get a last minute gig. Next week I have two events scheduled so far, a North Hollywood event at a local boxing gym very close to my house, and a wedding in Valencia that I am also providing two servers for. Next month, I have events scheduled in Torrance, Filmore, and Palos Verdes. I need more likes on my Facebook Page, and please follow us on Twitter.

 

 

South El Monte Birthday Fiesta

13 Apr

Last night I was the bartender at a large birthday fiesta in South El Monte. There were over 100 people in attendance and we ran completely out of booze at 11pm, which was when I was scheduled to leave – so I guess that worked out well. There was still Bud Light left, so those people wishing for one last beverage were not disappointed. We went through all the Corona, Sol, Tecate, and Dos Equis. I was pretty busy the whole night.  This was a Mexican birthday party and I have been doing many of these. As I have said before I am right at home doing these parties, and my Mexican name is Roberto.  One of the Mexican waiters at a restaurant I used to bartend at called me El Pinche Perro, but that is another story.

I made several different cocktails including Cadillac Margaritas, Mai Tais, Sex on the Beach, blended Pina Coladas, Capes Cods, Bay Breeze, Sea Breeze, Malibu and pineapple, and Cuba Libre. If you don’t know what all of those are – look them up. The important thing is that I know what they are. Pineapple juice is a key ingredient in many of those drinks.

I had a special request from a Peruvian lady in attendance. She wanted me to make a batch of a Peruvian native drink, the Pisco Sour. I had never made the drink before, but was familiar with it because my ex wife was from Santiago, Chile and that drink is popular in Chile as well.  Pisco

Reaching for the tools of the trade with a boss watch on!

Reaching for the tools of the trade with a boss watch on!

My workstation gets messy when serving 100 people!

My workstation gets messy when serving 100 people!

DJ lighting setup

DJ lighting setup

Freaky!

Freaky!

is a clear grape liquor that is deadly and will sneak up on you if you are not careful. The Pisco Sour is made with fresh lemons, Pisco, and egg whites in a blender. In Chile, they use powdered sugar as well, but this lady had me use something different. I think she was happy with the drink and I didn’t sample it because I no longer drink. Anyway, I think the Pisco Sour is a great drink to serve and impress your guests. Most people in North America have never had it and don’t know what it is.

I just booked a wedding in Santa Barbara in July. I have at least one wedding booked every month until November. My goal is to book one party or event every weekend and so far I am doing that every month. This month I am on track to do seven events, which I think is my record for one month since I have been in business. I am very grateful to be getting so many events. I just bought a portable bar, so I can now offer that service as well.

Please call me if you have any questions about cocktails, venues, or anything else related to bartending and events. I will be happy to help you, and I have many shopping lists I have done for other parties with prices on them, so you can get an idea what to budget. I can estimate pretty close how much you will need for the time length and number of people at your event. My goal is to get you in under budget and keep all of your guests happy. That way everyone is happy! Buenos Dias!

Hollywood Engagement Party and Stevenson Ranch Cocktail Party

6 Apr

April 5th was a busy day for Shaken Not Stirred. We had an engagement party in Hollywood, which was the second in a two part series, as we did the first one in Chatsworth awhile back. Two twins are going to be married and I was a glad to be a part of both of their engagement parties, and hopefully will be present at their weddings. Both of the girls, their finances, and their parents couldn’t be nicer people.

I brought two servers and a barback with me to the engagement party. The servers were there to just make sure plates and cups and bottles were kept cleaned up. They had a pizza truck come with a portable woodfired oven and make pizzas. I didn’t get the company’s name, but will try to get it and ad it later.  There were about 85 people at the party and it went on until 2:00 am. I served pink grapefruit martinis, cosmos, and margaritas. Coronas and St. Archer were the beers of choice.

Meanwhile, at Stevenson Ranch, I had another bartender, Jessica on the scene to do a cocktail party. I double booked that date but everything turned out great. I don’t know a lot of the details, but I guess there were a lot of kids at the party, and Jessica made a selection of virgin drinks for them. She is a very dependable and competent bartender. Dependability is 90 percent in this business. I have never cancelled or been late to an event, and in fact it is my policy to arrive ½ hour early to set up at no extra charge.

Next weekend I am doing a birthday party in El Monte, then another birthday party on Thursday in Woodland hills. I have a big wedding in Valencia later this month and am taking extra staff with me on that one. I have some dates booked in May and am doing a wedding in Fillmore, where I have never gone before. I have other dates booked in June, and as far out as September, but so far July is wide open and I hope to start filling that month up. I would like to do some reunions and pool parties and a Forth of July party

Back yard engagement party bar

Back yard engagement party bar

My crew in Hollywood

My crew in Hollywood

Hollywood engagement party heating up

Hollywood engagement party heating up

. It’s going to be a hot summer! You can now follow me on Twitter.

La Canada 40th Birthday Party

30 Mar

A person’s 40th birthday is an important milestone and certainly a cause for a huge celebration. I was a part of an epic celebration last night at an estate in La Canada. The property, as you can see in the pictures is made for throwing big parties. There was a brand new outside wet bar and another very nice formal bar inside the house, where I was stationed as the special martini bartender.

I was hired kind of last minute for this event and they also hired three additional bartenders for the outside bar. I was there just to make martinis. I had real martini glasses, which is always nice and I probably made over 100 martinis throughout the night. I made dirty martinis, Cosmopolitans, Lemon Drops, Gimlets, and margaritas. I went through five large bottles of Grey Goose. I was shaking all night long, which reminded me of my days at Frascati Ristorante in Redondo Beach.

Backyard before  the action started

Backyard before the action started

Inside "Martini" bar

Inside “Martini” bar

A great party atmosphere!

A great party atmosphere!

Street in La Canada outside event

Street in La Canada outside event

This is the kind of bartending I love to do.

There were supposed to be 200 people at the party and I think there were at least that many there. They had a dance floor set up in the back of the yard and at one point I walked outside and it was raging. The caterer put out a spread of traditional Armenian food and it was excellent. I finally had a chance to eat at around one AM. Celebrating Life by Dona coordinated the event and I hope to work with them again.

After one AM they released the outside bartenders and they had me stay on as the closing bartender. I was irritated by the condition the other bartenders left the outside bar. It was a total mess. They left all of the caps off of the liquor bottles and the mixers and I couldn’t find them. So, the mixers will probably have to be poured out, and what do you do with liquor bottles left half full with no caps on them? This is a sloppy, greedy attitude that is prevalent among many bartenders. They just want to make as much money as possible and split on the minute they were supposed to work until. I won’t have any bartenders working for me that are like that.

Next weekend I have a big engagement party scheduled in West Hollywood where I am taking a crew of three extra people. I am booked every Saturday in April and have a wedding in Valencia, and birthday parties in El Monte and Woodland Hills. I have also booked some gigs as far away as next October. Book your parties now – put down a 20 percent deposit and the day is yours.

Los Angeles Birthday Party

23 Mar

Finally, after over two years in business in Los Angeles, I got to do a party in Los Angeles. I have done parties all over Southern California, from Palm Springs to Santa Barbara. I have been in Long Beach, Santa Monica, Hollywood, Burbank, and Pasadena. I have done many parties in the San Fernando Valley, the Inland Empire, and Orange County, but last night I bartended my first party in the city of Los Angeles. The competition among bartending companies

In the West Adams district  of Los Angeles

In the West Adams district of Los Angeles

 

Table bar set up

Table bar set up

 

Me preparing to make a Rob Roy

Me preparing to make a Rob Roy

 

Crowd dancing to "YMCA" (not really that song!)

Crowd dancing to “YMCA”
(not really that song!)

is fierce in LA, but Shaken Not Stirred is steadily making a foothold in Southern California.

Last night, I bartended a birthday party at a very cool Victorian home in the West Adams neighborhood, south of Koreatown. The host was throwing a party for his girlfriend and I heard her say it was her first birthday party since becoming an adult. They had caterers there set up outside and they served some very good tacos. I had a makeshift bar set up inside, which was a folding table with a table cloth. I have inserted a picture to show that this set up works just fine.

The host also hired a DJ who was one of his personal friends, and the guy really made the party. I have been looking for a DJ to highly recommend, and I think I have finally found him. The name of his company is “Ten foot Rabbit”. The DJ’s girlfriend assisted him, and she not only helped him set up his equipment, but she mingled and engaged with people in the crowd and got them dancing. As the night progressed, the dance floor was packed, which made for a successful party. Here is a link to the DJ’s Facebook page.

At the request of the birthday girl, I served Rob Roy’s and Manhattans. Those are both classic cocktails and definitely an acquired taste, but were a hit with this crowd. I also served Cadillac Margaritas, which are always popular. In case you didn’t know, you need Gran Marnier to make a Margarita “Cadillac” and it really makes a big difference in taste. Coming in third at the party for cocktails was the Cosmopolitan. I brought some real martini glasses, and they seem to make the drinks so much better. At least they look better.

Next weekend I still have open and am hoping to book a gig. I probably will before Saturday, as many people wait until the last moment. So far I have almost every weekend booked in April, and I have been working with people back and forth for weddings as far away as September. I have been creeping up in Google searches and the phone is starting to ring from that alone, which was the goal.

Mira Loma Wedding

16 Mar

Last night I bartended a backyard wedding at a home in Mira Loma in the Inland Empire. I do all kinds of weddings from very fancy affairs to small backyard weddings. This one had about 75 people in attendance and was very nice. They had a a DJ, a live band, a caricature artist, and me, the bartender. I think the family put the food together, which was very good. The large backyard was perfect for hosting a wedding of this size. The important thing is that the people in attendance seemed to have a great time.

It is already getting hotter, so I want to remind everybody to get plenty of ice for their parties, because it melts fast. I think we had seven twenty pound bags for this party and we used every bit of it. I had tubs of Modelo, Tecate, Corona, Bud Light, and Coors. I served Tequila, Malibu, Jack Daniels, and Seagram’s Seven. I had made a shopping list for the host and I think we used up most of the booze.

One of the guests brought two kegs and people were pouring that beer for themselves. When he left the keg was still three quarters full. A lot of people were drinking bottled beer, so that was part of it. I usually tell people not to get keg beer for this reason – most of it goes to waste, and it is very problematic. Kegs are hard to keep cold and difficult to pour. This beer was donated, so free beer is good beer.

This was a traditional Mexican wedding, and they had a live band, Conjunto Norteno (714) 979-9369, which played all of the traditional favorites. I do many Mexican weddings and am right at home there. I speak some Spanish, and even though I am a gringo, I love the music and the culture, so don’t be afraid of hiring me. Many of the Mexican weddings remind me of country weddings I attended when I was younger in Wyoming.

Conjunto Norteno

Conjunto Norteno

 

The bride and groom have first dance

The bride and groom have first dance

 

Full bottles waiting to be emptied

Full bottles waiting to be emptied

 

Time for shots!

Time for shots!

 

Next weekend I am doing a birthday party in the city of Los Angeles. I get to stay close to home for a change. I have several dates already filled in April and May. I am looking forward to doing many weddings this summer and hope to pick up some graduation parties and reunions, and of course, pool parties. I would like to fill some Sunday dates in.

Hollywood Champagne Reception

9 Mar

Last night I assisted pouring champagne for 150 guests at the Harmony Gold Theatre in Hollywood. The Center for Spiritual Living of Los Angeles was celebrating their 25th anniversary and they hosted a champagne reception for their members after their Saturday night service. I helped set up and pour the champagne, so it would be ready when all of the guests poured out of the theater. While this was an easy gig for me and probably anybody could have done it – I have poured champagne so many times at various events, it helps to have a little experience.  They set up hors d’oeuvres that were made by Diamond Bakery on Fairfax and they were just excellent.

I listened to the service while we were setting up and I must say that the Center for Spiritual Living had some excellent music. As soon as the service was over, the people poured out of the theater and the glasses of champagne I had poured went fast. I poured ginger ale into champagne glasses for non alcoholic drinkers. We went through 18 bottles of champagne for 150 people. A few people came back for a second glass.

It was nice to do a gig in Hollywood after being in Palm Springs last weekend. Next weekend I am doing a wedding in Mira Loma, and the weekend after that I am doing another party in Los Angeles. Someone called me last night and wants me to do a birthday party in Woodland Hills next month. He found me off of a Google search, which means that this blog is working. I am showing up on the first page of many searches now. It takes awhile. I used to get many gigs off of Craigslist, but that doesn’t seem to be working now, and I think it’s because you can’t click through the links from Craigslist any more.

This is my second year of doing this as my own business, and I couldn’t be happier. I am getting jobs pretty consistently every weekend, and I am starting to get some repeat business. I am doing an engagement party next month in West Hollywood that is a repeat client. I have probably helped over 100 clients, and so far, knock on wood, have not had one bad experience. I have several girls that help me as servers and barbacks and I am getting more requests for that. Three gigs I have scheduled next month, I will take extra staff with me. It is going to be a good summer bartending in Southern California.

Somebody said I don't have enough pictures of myself on here

Somebody said I don’t have enough pictures of myself on here

Hsrmony Gold Theater on Sunset Boulevard

Hsrmony Gold Theater on Sunset Boulevard

Champagne waiting for drinkers

Champagne waiting for drinkers

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