- Unless you’re incredibly sensitive to gluten, most distilled liquors are safe to drink unless they have gluten-containing flavourings added later.
- Wine, Champagne, and hard ciders are often safe if you’re avoiding gluten, but you should always check the label or ask if you’re ordering at a bar to be sure.
- Depending on your sensitivity levels and personal preferences, some gluten-free beer options may or may not be for you.
- Pre-mixed cocktails and drink mixers can be hidden sources of gluten, so it’s best to read labels carefully before you buy them.
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If you follow a gluten-free diet, you might think that you
According to current FDA regulations, foods labelled as gluten-free must contain less than 20 parts per million (PPM) of gluten. That’s the smallest detectable amount via current scientific testing methods, and this regulation has been in place in the US since 2013.
In the European Union,the legal threshold may not exceed 20 milligrams per kilogram.
If you’re sticking to a gluten-free diet for any reason, don’t worry. When it comes to alcohol, there are plenty of options you can drink if you follow a gluten-free diet.
As always, you should double-check all labels for their ingredients before indulging.
There are a growing number of gluten-free beers available
“Hey, can I get you a beer?” is something a well-meaning friend or family member has probably asked someone who has mentioned they follow a gluten-free diet at least once. Though you may think you have to skip out, not so fast.
In our craft beer-saturated culture, there are a ton of gluten-free beers available. You can enjoy classic-tasting beers such as Glutenberg Craft Brewery Blanche, or seasonal specialties like Dogfish Head Tweason’ale.
Be wary that some beers branded as gluten-free are actually gluten-removed or gluten reduced, so you should consult your doctor before imbibing, especially if your allergy is severe.
On the other hand, wine is generally a good bet if you want gluten-free libations in your glass
As wine is made from grapes, it is, for the most part, gluten-free – as is Champagne.
However, as Decanter points out, there is a slim possibility of wine coming into contact with gluten during either the ageing or fining processes – depending on a winemaker’s individual preferences and recipes.
If this does happen, the amounts are often small enough that such wines can still legally be labelled “gluten-free” in most cases. But if you have certain forms of celiac disease that make you hypersensitive, you may still wish to avoid those wines.
Decanter also cautions that the same doesn’t necessarily hold true of wine coolers, or other wine-based beverages – only regular wines. Alcoholic beverages that involve wine – such as wine coolers – may rely on flavourings that contain gluten, so always read labels carefully before making any purchasing decisions.
Liquors with naturally gluten-free bases are a safer bet
Registered dietitian E.A. Stewart wrote for Beyond Celiac that while many celiac experts, advocacy groups, and organisations say that liquors are generally safe for people on gluten-free diets because they are distilled – some very sensitive individuals may still experience problems with certain liquors.
That’s because while some liquors are made from naturally gluten-free bases, such as potatoes or corn – some are also made with gluten-containing grains such as rye, wheat, and barley.
This shouldn’t affect you unless you are extremely sensitive – but if you are, it’s something to keep an eye on.
If you want to be safe, stick to liquors that are naturally gluten-free like tequila, rum, and potato-based vodkas and, of course, consult your doctor if you’re particularly worried.
Even if you’re fine with plain liquors, be careful of flavored liquors that can add gluten you may not have considered
While the distillation process removes most danger for individuals with gluten sensitivities and allergies, you still need to be careful of flavored liquors.
According to registered dietitian Lori Welstead, who wrote for University of Chicago Medicine,
“Flavored distilled liquor can be problematic, however, because the flavoring is added after the distillation process and therefore can introduce gluten back into the product. In the case of flavored distilled liquors, you should contact the manufacturer to learn the gluten-free status of the end product.”
For detailed information about the independently tested gluten-containing status of your favourite alcoholic beverage, if it is sold in the US, Gluten Free Watchdog has a summary report on Gluten Content of Distilled Alcohol available to everyone. The complete report is also available to subscribers.
Hard ciders are almost always OK
Hard ciders are mostly fine for those avoiding gluten unless they involve malt flavourings that are added later on in the process.
If you’re not entirely sure if the cider you’re imbibing in is gluten-free, many sites, like Angry Orchard’s, will have that information readily available.
Hard seltzers are usually OK too
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