Northridge 60th Birthday Party: Back to the 60’s

1 Mar Two hippies in Northridge
My portable bar set up in kitchen

My portable bar set up in kitchen

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.

Two hippies in Northridge

Two hippies in Northridge

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.

The good stuff

The good stuff

Valentine’s Day Wedding in West Hills

15 Feb February in Southern California

westhills1Saturday was Valentine’s Day and Shaken Not Stirred provided bartending service and servers for a wedding in West Hills. This was my first time bartending an Ethiopian wedding, and it was quite an incredible experience. This is what I love about doing event bartending. I am exposed to so many different cultural customs and traditions at landmark events in people’s lives. I have bartended at Mexican weddings, Armenian Christenings, Qinceaneras,  Vietnamese engagement parties, Persian weddings, traditional Jewish weddings, military weddings,  and all kinds of birthday parties.

This Valentine’s Day wedding was held at a house in West Hills, on the far North west edge of the San Fernando Valley that overlooks the entire valley. The weather could not have been nicer. When you are planning weddings in Southern California, the odds are pretty good that there is a ninety percent chance of no rain. This particular house is available for weddings and other events, and I did not get the name of it, but it was an incredible venue.

Traditional Ethiopian wedding dance

Traditional Ethiopian wedding dance

I brought two servers with me and three of us were busy the entire time. I had spoken with the bride several times leading up to the event and I helped her plan a shopping menu.  Unfortunately, we had plenty of alcohol, but everybody seemed to only want one choice – Grey Goose. We ran out of Grey Goose vodka two hours into the reception and I sent one of my girls out to buy more.  Then a couple hours later we ran out again! I left the reception leaving the girls to hold down the fort and went and bought more. I am not a big believer in Grey Goose and think that it is way overpriced, but it was what the hosts wanted.

We served the champagne toast and we helped serve the wedding cake and then the party started winding down. I am bartending a 60th birthday party in Northridge on the 28th and am still available for the 21st, so who knows where that will take me. In March I have three events in Palm Springs, all on weekdays, so I still have three Saturdays open. The final Saturday of March I have a big wedding in Santa Ynez, where I will provide bartending service. And winter is almost over.

February in Southern California

February in Southern California

Moroccan Themed Birthday Party in Glendora

8 Feb
DJ Benny Boom spins inside tent

DJ Benny Boom spins inside tent

Shaken Not Served traveled to Glendora on Saturday night to bartend a Moroccan themed birthday party. The hosts had a fantastic tent set up in their backyard that looked like something out of 1001 Arabian nights.  They also had a very nice backyard bar for me to work from. It was raining when I got there, but that’s what tents are for, right?  The rain subsided, and the guest started arriving. I think the party was a great success.

The host and I worked together on an extensive drink menu that included eight specialty drinks and just as many shot choices. The Moroccan Mint Martini, was the tip choice of the night. The drink includes, vodka, muddled mint leaves, simple syrup, fresh lime juice, and a splash of orange juice. It has a very nice color and looks good in the martini glass.  I also made Cosmo’s, Lemon Drops, Appletinis, and cucumber margaritas.

Shots lined up

Shots lined up

This party was all about shots. I started the trend by making different specialty shots and setting them out. The favorite one was the Woo Hoo, which had vodka, peach schnapps, and cranberry juice. The Washington Apple was popular, which has Crown Royal. Cranberry juice, and apple pucker. I also made Lemon drop shots, and by the end of the night, Monster & vodka shots. I served four handles of vodka.

Shots!

Shots!

The DJ was Benny Boom, of the San Gabriel Valley (909) 767-9291. He passed my DJ test and gets to appear on this blog. He didn’t play YMCA, Happy, or the Cupid Shuffle. I think many DJ’s lack imagination and just play the same mix at every party. This DJ was above average in that respect and he really got the party going. By the end of the night the dance floor was full. The shots also helped in that respect.

Shots 2!

Shots 2!

Next Saturday is Valentine’s Day and I will bartending a wedding in West Hills, and am taking two servers with me. I was looking at my schedule for next month, and I have three events in Palm Springs, and they are all on Fridays, so, I can book Saturday night events on those weekends. I also have a wedding in Santa Ynez, where I have never been before and am looking forward to it. In March, Shaken Not Stirred, the Southern California mobile bartending service will be logging a lot of miles.

Mobile Bartender Services Super Bowl Party in Glendora

2 Feb Shots!
Airplane fuel, AKA "Fireball"

Airplane fuel, AKA “Fireball”

Shaken Not Stirred, the Los Angeles mobile bartender, traveled to Glendora to bartend at a Super Bowl party on Sunday. As, you know, the super bowl is pretty much a national holiday in the United States, and a big day for partying.  Only, the Fourth of July may be a bigger drinking holiday, than Super bowl Sunday. The weather in Glendora could not have been nicer for the poolside Super Bowl Party, and the back yard was decked out with two bars, tents with projection televisions, and televisions at the bar.

I do all kinds of events and parties and work behind all kinds of portable and fixed bars. The bar in Glendora could seat at least twenty people and so it reminded me of working behind a real bar, when I did that. Often a bar that long will have two bartenders behind it to keep on top of things. There were around seventy people at the party, so I kept busy.

Long poolside bar in Glendora

Long poolside bar in Glendora

Why Hire a Mobile Bartender?

  • You can mingle and enjoy your own party
  • Impress your guests
  • Avoid losses from theft and breakage
  • Let a pro help you with a shopping list
  • Avoid overserving

I made some of my specialty drinks, and then I made many others. The host had a pretty wide range of liquors and mixers, so I could fulfill almost all requests. I made more Bloody Marys than anything else. The bloody Mary mixes that they put out are pretty good, and I like to add Worchestershire sauce, Tabasco, fresh lime juice, and olive juice. The bar had a tap and we went through one whole keg of Coors Light and I tapped another one.

Shots!

Shots!

The game was very good and kept people’s attention right up until the last minutes. I have seen many Super Bowls that were blow outs, where people lost interest in the game before half time and this wasn’t one of those for sure. Towards the end I served many Fireball shots and shots of Tres Generationes tequila. It was a fun crowd, and I think the host and his guests were very happy. I know I was.

Tip ring given by a guest

Tip ring given by a guest

On Saturday, I travel to Glendora again, to bartend a birthday party. This makes two events in one week in the San Gabriel Valley for the mobile bartender. It is unbelievable the number of weddings that are coming up and a bit overwhelming. I have been talking to so many brides and helping them plan their beverage service for their weddings. I have also been helping people plan their birthday parties. This is one area where I am very experienced, and can help you save money and time on your shopping list.

 

International Valley Glen 40th Birthday Party

25 Jan Great wall of LA in the neighborhood
Great wall of LA in the neighborhood

Great wall of LA in the neighborhood

Last night, Shaken Not Stirred once again traveled one whole mile to bartend an international 40th birthday party in my own hood, they call Valley Glen. I say it was an international birthday party because there were guests in attendance from Argentina, Great Britain, Iran, Mexico, Chile, and probably a few other countries. I have links to South America myself, and love the way they party.

I had booked this party months ago, and I think the reason the host booked me, was because I was in the neighborhood. Yesterday, all day before the party I was suffering anxiety and was feeling that somehow I was going to screw the party up. I arrived 1.5 hours early to set up for this reason. Of course, I forgot my tupperwear for garnishes, simple syrup, camera, and knife. So, I drove back home and got those items, minus the camera. A friend of mine keeps telling me I should make a check list. I think it it is time I finally do that. I always either forget to bring something, or I leave something behind.

Lousy picture of my bar

Lousy picture of my bar

The party went very well. I think it is almost impossible to screw a party up as a bartender if you arrive early to prepare. I served Old Fashioneds, Mojitos, Cuba Libres, and Cape Cods. The old Fashioned and the Mojito are labor intensive drinks to make, but the more I make them, the quicker I am. The Old Fashioned is a classic cocktail and fantastic drink.  Those were definitely the hit of the night. I served Peroni beer, Lagonitas IPA, and lots of red wine.

As I mentioned, I forgot my camera and only took a couple lousy pictures with my camera before it died. It’s a shame because there were many attractive people in attendance, dancing, and fantastic food. The host’s father in law made the food and it was incredible. They had many amazing appetizers, and then a very healthy main course selection, Argentine style.  In the end, I think the party was a great success, and I think the birthday boy was very happy. Any man who has a 40th birthday party thrown for him, is indeed a lucky man.

Next weekend I don’t have anything yet scheduled, and it is Super Bowl weekend. I’m hoping to pick up a couple of parties. I have some birthday parties and weddings scheduled in February, and March is going to be very busy. I will be driving all over southern California bartending weddings in Santa Inez, Palm Springs, and the Inland Empire.

Backyard tent setup for party

Backyard tent setup for party

Huffington Center Fundraiser in Los Angeles

18 Jan Women...
The Huffington Center and St. Sofia Cathedral

The Huffington Center and St. Sofia Cathedral

Last night Shaken Not Stirred contracted to bartend an event at the Huffington Center in Los Angeles for the annual Sons of Pericles, Greeks in LA event. The Huffington Center is a fantastic facility on the grounds of the St. Sofia Greek Orthodox Cathedral south of Koreatown in Los Angeles. There were about 100 guests in attendance from all over the country. Many of the young men played in the annual basketball tournament earlier in the day at the Huffington Center.

I had been in contact for months with the organizer of the event, who flew in from Brooklyn.  The event was a fundraiser and they charged for drinks. They used different colored tickets for shots, beers, wine, or mixed drinks. It was a pretty good system, and guests were carded at the door and given wrist bands, so I didn’t have to card people. The event was supposed to start at 9pm, but people didn’t really start trickling in until 10pm, and then I got slammed.

Men...

Men…

I served out of Jack Daniels, rum, and Ouzo. I also served a lot of vodka, gin, and tequila. It was the kind of event where it would have been nice to have a barback, but I handled it ok. The Huffington Center is set up nicely for events. They have a big ballroom, and a huge, very well designed kitchen that is equipped to serve hundreds. A very nice facility, and which I hope to return to.

Women...

Women…

Next weekend I will bartend another birthday party in my own neighborhood of Valley Glen, and an event at the Reef in downtown Los Angeles. I do not have a Super Bowl party booked yet, and I hope to pick up one. I have another birthday party booked the first week in February in Glendora, and then the rest of February is pretty open. March is filling up fast, however, and I have several weddings booked all over Southern California, from Palm Springs to Santa Ynez. Book your bartender now!

Shots!

Shots!

Shaken Not Stirred Travels One Mile to Bartend Valley Glen Event

12 Jan
Guests mingle in Valley Glen

Guests mingle in Valley Glen

Shaken Not Stirred, the Los Angeles mobile bartender broke an all time record and traveled one whole mile to bartend a baby shower in his home base of Valley Glen. Valley Glen is a fancy way of saying Van Nuys. Van Nuys gets a bad rap because of ongoing garage sales in the area. Seriously though, they have expertly designed some of these neighborhoods so that they are perfectly isolated from the mean streets of Van Nuys. There are some nice little streets in there, and the party was on one of them.

I have bartended at baby showers before and served a few mimosas. This one was not like that. This was a coed event with about forty guests, and they were drinkers. The host wanted pink signature drinks in honor of the baby, and I served strawberry Mojitos, French Kiss cocktails, and pink grapefruit martinis. The strawberry Mojito was very popular and I went through two handles of rum. It drizzled rain for awhile, then it cleared up and was nice for the rest of the night.

French Kiss Martini

French Kiss Martini

The host hired a two piece band and they played almost the entire time, four hours without a break.  The lead singer didn’t have a card, and he said he was going to email me his information and asked if I would promote him. I must say, the live music added a lot to the party, and this two piece band was better than most I have seen. Whether people realize it or not, music makes a big difference. The live music turns a hoh-hum party into something epic. I hope he does email me, because I will promote him to my clients. I forgot my camera, so didn’t get any good pictures.

Two piece band in Valley Glen

Two piece band in Valley Glen

This coming Saturday I will be bartending a fundraiser in Koreatown. I have planned this party for a few weeks now with the host, who is coming from New York City. I feel like he and I are best friends now, though we have never met. I find him refreshingly direct, compared the laid back and sometimes wishy-washy California way of doing things. Then the following week, I have another party to do in good old Valley Glen. Two parties in one month in my neighborhood – my car is not getting enough wear and tear!

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