Getting Sober Curious with the Founder of Curious Elixirs - Episode 012


Maybe you’ve been testing out the sober life during Dry January. Maybe you’ve given up the booze for good. Maybe you’re saying, “No way! I’ll never give up my Jose Cuervo." In episode 12, we had an entertaining chat with John Wiseman. He is the founder of Curious Elixirs, the curiously complex booze-free cocktails that are available online and select Michelin star restaurants. 

John isn’t trying to convince people not to drink, but he does want to give 75 million people, who choose not to drink, some better non-alcoholic options. Unlike typical sugary mocktails, Curious Elixirs is complex and interesting. They are fit for a foodie’s palate. This makes sense considering that John started his career in entertainment and nightlife. 

Curious Elixirs is incorporating only organic juices, spices, barks, botanical and adaptogens like ashwagandha that benefit the body. The company is also introducing a concoction with CBD. 

During our time together, we discussed how John transitioned from nightlife, bars, and booze to starting Curious Elixirs. He gave us a peek into the night he knew something had to change. 


  • John’s best impression of the most annoying drunk person he’s ever encountered during his time as a bouncer. 

  • How his own personal quest for a booze-free complex concoction led to finding white space in the market. 

  • Dry January and what it feels like to go without alcohol. 

  • Investigating the adaptogens from every culture. 

  • Balancing flavor and function. Using plants to increase your circulation and other functions

  • What happened when Curious Elixir asked its members about including CBD in the mix. 

  • Co-creating your product with your target audience. 

  • Kicking things off with Kickstarter. 

  • Why John chose to take a fun approach to the Curious Elixirs brand. 

  • The most daring thing John has ever done outside of business… (Hint: It involves ropes.)

  • The book John recommends to help men ( or people with a masculine energy) wake up to what to do in the world. 


  • Spend one hour of every day for two weeks doing exactly what you want.


After cutting his teeth in entertainment working for NBC, Focus Features, and Broadway, John Wiseman joined then-fledgling start-up Thrillist as the 3rd employee as head of marketing. Leading Thrillist's marketing and partnerships strategies, he took the men's lifestyle publication from 15,000 readers to a multi-platform curated content + commerce group with over 3 million subscribers in 20+ markets. In May 2010, Thrillist acquired JackThreads, a members-only e-commerce shopping club for guys, which he likewise grew from 150,000 to nearly 5 million members. After 6+ amazing years at Thrillist, John joined the exciting new company Skillshare, the global learning community where anyone can learn real-life skills from incredible teachers. Their mission: to democratize learning and help people build their lives, businesses, and careers without exclusivity or soul-crushing student debt. Its purpose is to help people do things, create things, and ignite and fuel their passions and careers. After building Skillshare from 200,000 to 1.2 million people, John founded a new company and a new way of doing things: it's called Good Business. He helps companies that aim to do well and do good in the world, primarily in the food + wellness industries. Together with partners, John also built bars and restaurants. In 2010, they opened the subterranean bar The Whiskey Brooklyn, followed by the boutique liquor store The Whiskey Shop, and John also invested in the Williamsburg nightclub OUTPUT. In 2017, John also founded Curious Elixirs, a booze-free cocktail company whose mission it is to redefine how we drink socially by providing delicious, complex, and healthy adult beverages.

(P.S. Is there anything this man cannot do? We’d like to know…)

To learn more about Curious Elixirs, head to


John’s two favorite books - Shantaram & The Way of the Superior Man 

New online health food paradise -

Cole Hernandez