Wingtip Bartender Brandon Bigalke: Sippin’ on Gin and Duck

Last month, Wingtip’s very own Brandon Bigalke competed in Bombay Sapphire’s Regional Finals for the 9th Annual “World’s Most Imaginative Bartender” competition. Held at the of-the-moment Mission bar Forgery, the event was the last stop on the tour, pitting six bartenders against each other to find out who would represent San Francisco at the North American Finals.

Some of the best and brightest minds of SF’s bar scene showcased their creations. A plethora of inventive beverages were concocted, with ingredients like hibiscus, curry, milk tea and boba, and duck.

Bigalke was responsible for that last one. Dressed like a “Duck hunter [and] not “Duck Dynasty,” Mr. Bigalke’s rightfully named Duck Conflip was a smooth and creamy endeavor that consisted of unconventional ingredients such as brussels-sprout-infused olive oil, duck egg, and a duck meat garnish. [Recipe below.] All the while, he created a nice story that captured the true essence of freedom and America, with his full camo gear, trucker hat, real shotgun shells, and duck tchotchkes.

Rye’s Julie Anderson was the eventual winner and BDK’s Anthony Parks took home the People’s Choice Award, but Mr. Bigalke showed great poise and showmanship, all while creating a delicious cocktail.

Asked about his performance, Mr. Bigalke said, “It was a cool experience. I’m a little bitter, but I know where I need to improve next time. I’m happy about the results.”

Some of you are already familiar with Brandon and some of you are not, so for the latter, we sat down with our man, put him on the hot seat and asked him some rapid fire questions:

Wingtip: Who taught you how to pour drinks?
Brandon Bigalke: Technically a guy named Joel Heffernan and Dave D. Batista.

WT: Favorite Cocktail tool?
BB: Barspoon.

WT: What’s your favorite cocktail to make?
BB: Seelbach

WT: Favorite Drink?
BB: Shot and Beer.

WT: Besides Wingtip, what’s your favorite bar in the city?
BB: Geary Club.

WT: Who would be the one person you would want to tend bar for, living or dead?
BB: Albert Einstein.

WT: What is the ideal beard length?
BB: 2 inches.

WT: Who has a better beard, James Harden, you, or Brian Wilson circa 2010?
BB: Brian Wilson.

WT: Where were you born?
BB: Minnesota.

WT: SF or Minnesota?
BB: San Francisco for now.

WT: Vikings or Niners?
BB: Vikings.WT: Best Burrito in SF is?
BB: El Super Burrito on Polk.WT: Team Edward or Jacob?
BB: Is that a Harry Potter reference?

WT: Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin?
BB: Dean Martin.

WT: Favorite James Bond actor?
BB: Daniel Craig or Sean Connery.

WT: Favorite Bond flick?
BB: Skyfall.

WT: Playboy or Penthouse?
BB: Playboy.

WT: Favorite clothing brand?

WT: Necktie or Bowtie?
BB: Necktie.

WT: Best piece of advice you got from your father?
BB: He showed me how to get things done with my hands.

Duck Conflip

•1 1/2 oz of Bombay Sapphire Gin
•1/2 oz of Strega
•3/4 oz of lemon
•1/2 oz of tonic syrup
•1/4 oz of Brussel sprout infused olive oil
•1 full duck egg


For more information on the Bombay Sapphire “World’s Most Imaginative Bartender” contest, visit

Additional credits: Cover illustration by David Dines. Top three photos by David Dines. Bottom photo by Sean Malone.

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