‘Tis the season for holiday parties. Think before you pick up a glass of cheer: Is this gluten-free? Many alcohols may contain gluten. Put your detective hat on and investigate your alcohol beverage choice.
I’ve done extensive research and find conflicting information on this topic. Some sources state that all gluten is removed from alcohol after distillation. However, many of the respected experts state that the distillation process doesn’t remove all of the gluten. Various alcohols can go through several distillation processes which are not always completed in order to preserve the taste. Also, some sources say that all vodka and gin are gluten-free, and this is definitely not true.
My dear friend drank gin assuming the gin was made from only juniper berries. She has celiac disease and was terribly sick on the spot. Later she learned that the gin was made from wheat. Clearly, not all of the gluten was removed in the distillation process. Based on her experience, I always err on the side of caution and verify the drink is indeed gluten-free as I'm incredibly sensitive to exposure.
Pay special attention to whiskey as it’s back in style. Before you chill your whiskey stones and pour the liquid gold, know that whiskey may contain gluten as it can be made from various grains that haven't been properly distilled, may be malted with barley, and may have added coloring.
There is good news.
Some brands are identifying their product as certified gluten-free
- Tito's Vodka
- Blue Ice Vodka
- Rum Chata
Here are common alcohols that may contain gluten
- Wine & Champagne**
- Wine coolers
- Hard lemonade
- Hard Cider***
- Whiskey: including Bourbon, Malt, Rye & Scotch
- Cocktail mixes
* All beer is suspect unless labeled gluten-free. Omission beer is not gluten-free!
** Most wines are gluten-free; only rarely barrel aging involves gluten.
*** Some hard ciders contain barley.
**** Most rums are gluten-free, but some have gluten additives.
What’s your favorite gluten-free alcohol beverage?
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