If you’re going to drink this holiday season, please consult my gluten-free alcohol guide first!
I must admit, I’m not much of a drinker. But on occasion it’s nice to have a little alcohol – especially when it’s time to celebrate things like New Year’s Eve or when I’m in my own home and can control what goes into my drink.
When I drink outside of the home, it gets a little trickier.
For example, when you order a mixed drink at a bar or restaurant, you must be completely informed about what you can and cannot have. DO NOT rely on the bartender or server to know what’s gluten-free and what’s not. They don’t know gluten-free alcohol like you know gluten-free alcohol!
Always inform your bartender and server you have celiac disease or that you follow a strict gluten-free diet for health reasons. Ask for all items used to make your drink to be cleaned prior to use. Just because the alcohol and mix are gluten-free doesn’t mean the tools used to create your drink haven’t been used to mix other, gluten-containing drinks. Cross contamination is rampant at bars!
Wherever you drink, it’s important to be an informed consumer.
This year, I’ve put together this gluten-free alcohol guide. This post is periodically updated.
Beers, Ciders and Wines:
Beer is only gluten-free if marked gluten-free and made from gluten-free grains. I enjoy gluten-free beer made from gluten-free grains like Holidaily beer or New Planet beer (New Planet makes both gluten-free and gluten removed beers – check labels carefully). There are plenty of gluten-free beer options as some of the bigger players in the beer industry are now making gluten-free beers (Anheuser Busch has Redbridge Lager and Coors has Peak Copper Lager). Distribution and availability of gluten-free beers will continue to rise.
“Gluten removed” beers are beers made from barley, but manufacturers say the gluten protein is broken down (distilled) so much that it is safe for someone who cannot eat gluten. However, there are many debates in the celiac community about whether these beers are safe, so I am cautious and avoid it since I have celiac disease.
Hard Cider is gluten-free if marked gluten-free. I enjoy Angry Orchard Hard Cider.
Wine is made from grapes and is naturally gluten-free and safe for anyone on a gluten-free diet.
Whiskey, Bourbon and Scotch are distilled from gluten-containing grains similar to gluten-removed beers. Again, there is much debate on whether distilled alcohol is safe for those with celiac disease. I avoid.
Rum is naturally gluten-free as it’s typically derived from cane sugar, which is gluten-free. However, be sure to watch out for added coloring, spices and flavors, which may not be gluten-free.
Brandy is made from grapes and is naturally gluten-free, but the added coloring and flavors may not be.
Cognac is also made from grapes and is naturally gluten-free. Avoid cognac with added colorings and flavors.
Vodka distilled from either corn, grape, rice or potato are gluten-free. Brands to look for include Tito’s (corn), Ciroc (grape), and Chopin (potato). However, vodka can be distilled from wheat and while some say it’s gluten-free, I prefer to use brands that don’t contain any gluten ingredients. Common vodkas distilled from wheat (and should be avoided) include Absolut, Grey Goose, Orloff, SKYY and Smirnoff, to name a few.
Tequila is naturally gluten-free if it’s made from 100% agave (check the label). Enjoy!
Gin can be made from wheat, rye, barley or corn. Experts say that the gluten is removed during the distillation process (like gluten-removed beer) but proceed with caution. I usually avoid gin unless I see it’s derived from corn on the label.
Mixers may or may not be gluten-free depending on the ingredients. Check labels carefully and ask the manufacturer if you’re uncertain (or just avoid altogether).
A Gluten-Free Mixed Drink Recipe:
Rum is one of my favorite distilled liquors because it’s always gluten-free. Enjoy this recipe for a Minty Mojito in a Mug. Cheers!
Cheers to a happy, healthy and totally gluten-free New Year!