After growing up in Lincroft, Corinne Delaney jumped head-first into multiple careers, from Wall Street to hospitality. After long work weeks, she loved hosting friends at her New York apartment. Through these gatherings, she recognized her passion for food and especially drink. One thing she noticed was the relative lack of serious attention gin receives.
“When you look at a gin shelf,” she says, “nobody was playing with the idea of taking it into the spice world.” Delaney did just that. Experimenting with Mexican spices, she and her team created a new avenue for this pigeonholed potion.
Delaney’s one-of-a-kind product, Mexigin, is a dark-spiced gin, naturally spiced with sustainable agricultural spices and peppers. Now it is scattered on cocktail menus across the state. Mexigin, she says, is “so incredibly versatile” it can be used in an array of ways.
What did you do before starting your own brand?
My first job, I worked in the World Trade Center at a law firm and I went through a series of jobs within client relations and development, and things along those lines. I learned a lot. Nothing in liquor spirits, so I’m learning as I go and have met a lot of amazing people through the process.
How did you get started in the spirits business?
I love to cook and entertain large groups of people. It was always a stress reliever for me when working these crazy Wall Street jobs. Tequila had its moment. Vodka is always on the shelf; there’s a lot of flavored rums. There’s been this sort of evolution or “moment” for a lot of types of spirits. Nobody was playing with gin and taking it into the spice world. I love to eat and cook and the idea was out of conversation of, “Why isn’t there something like this?” That’s sort of how it became Mexigin.
How did you come up with the name?
The name was given approval because it is Mexican spice gin. The flavors are very prominent in Mexican cuisine. It’s things that are found naturally in the Latin American cultures and flavors and foods; Like peppers, and it gives it the perfect amount of heat.
Describe the experimenting for us.
It was definitely trial and error. Some days you cry tears of happiness, and sometimes it’s anything else. It was experimenting with the flavor. We wanted to make it smooth; that was the main priority working with the distiller. It was also important where the heat hit. I personally love spice, but not the sort that hits you in the mouth and it’s all you can taste all night. It was important that the heat elevated the cocktail but didn’t take over in too powerful a way.
When did you officially launch?
During the pandemic it became my full-time job. We all had more free time than we probably wished for. It gave us time to research and finish everything we needed to do. We knew we were on to something when we started hearing people’s responses.
How have people responded?
We’ve been lucky to do liquor store tastings, and people who “hate gin” and don’t want to try it, end up walking out like, “Wow, that was a different type of experience.” We’ve had amazing feedback from gin lovers, non-gin lovers, and, shockingly, a lot of bourbon lovers.
Some specific ways you serve Mexigin?
It runs the gamut from being in a brunch-type cocktail with passion fruit or pineapple and Prosecco. Or there are people who have it as more of a mule, or Manhattans or in apple ciders. My personal favorite is an espresso martini.
Where can people get Mexigin?
We have clients and accounts all over New Jersey. We just opened in New York, and we’re in Florida.
Any stand-out moment for you?
I found out that the liquor industry is actually pretty male-dominant still. I’ve found so many women in this endeavor that I can rely on, and I think that’s critically important, especially in an industry where women are less represented. There are women who have great ideas for different spirits but have no idea how to get into the industry. I’d love to take all I’m doing and be a mentor for others coming in.