Deb Podlogar is known as the “Mocktail Mom” to her almost 200k followers across social media—and she recently trademarked the phrase. If you’re contemplating Dry January, sober curious or just looking for mocktail ideas, this girl mom of two (22 and 16) is a must-follow.
Her delicious recipes are reason enough to check her out, but Deb has also created a resource guide, a virtual mocktail summit and a podcast—making her the mocktail queen and trademark status worthy. But Deb says she wasn’t always a drinker, and didn’t really have any issues with alcohol until her 40s. “I hadn’t grown up drinking or been a partier, but as life got hard, chardonnay became a BFF,” she says.
For this week’s Meet a Mom interview, The Local Moms Network recently chatted with Deb, who is based outside Louisville, Kentucky, about why she started her platform, her favorite non-recipe mocktail recipe, what she suggests saying if anyone asks why you’re not drinking, and more.
How did Mocktail Mom come to be?
I was just a mom like many moms who had gone through hard times. I was in my 40s, and had recently gone through breast cancer, a double mastectomy, chemo, a divorce, both my parents had dementia and then passed away.
I went from having one glass in the evening to finding myself finishing a whole bottle and getting lost in the mommy wine culture. Yes, it was numbing the pain but also the joy. I’m always a glass half full person, but I was feeling down, and that was for sure from the anxiety of drinking. And I think a lot of moms have this – but think, What am I going to drink if I’m not drinking.
So surviving breast cancer was a catalyst for becoming sober?
You would think it would be a wake up call, but I drank as I came out of symptoms from the chemo sessions. I turned 50 in 2021 and when my 50th birthday was coming up, I thought, I don’t want to drag a U-Haul of shame into the next decade of my life. I don’t want to say I’ll have one glass and then finish a bottle. It’s embarrassing; there’s a lot of personal shame.
The question that ultimately comes up is, Is alcohol serving me? There has not been one day that I woke up and thought, I wish I had chardonnay last night. I didn’t think I would last one day let alone over 1000 days.
It does feel like more moms are sober curious—why do you think this is the new direction?
I think we’re becoming more aware, we’re reading labels, we’re not eating red dye, and we’re asking why are we putting ethanol in our body, but then getting up to do yoga? The number one podcast of 2023 was Andrew Haberman’s on the effects of alcohol.
How do you tell people you’re not drinking?
Number one, you don’t owe anyone an explanation about why you’re not drinking. If you’re at a party, get something in your hand ASAP – a sparkling water with a splash of cranberry. The first question people ask is, What can I get you to drink?. But if you have something in your hand, you don’t have to explain. I think we put it into our heads that people care that you’re not drinking, but nobody cares.
What’s your favorite non-recipe recipe for a weeknight mocktail?
My sober mom’s sangria! It’s just non-alcoholic red wine, poured over ice with equal parts Fresca or Grapefruit Zevia. That makes the most delicious sangria with no recipe!
What feedback do you get most from moms?
Women think they are the only ones struggling or drinking more than they intended to. Once you become more sober curious and dip your toe into mocktails, you’ll find a huge community.
More About Mocktail Mom
Deb Podlogar hosts the Thriving Alcohol-Free with Mocktail Mom podcast and has a private membership for women who want to be encouraged that the fun isn’t over and there are still good things to drink. In January, she is hosting The Mocktail Summit, an online global event to support those looking to learn more about mocktails. Deb can be found on Instagram sharing recipes, tips & tricks, and menopause fun: @mocktail.mom
Her website is MocktailMom.com