Gluten Free Liquors
One of the most common questions people ask when discovering they are sensitive to gluten is “What do I eat? What do I drink?” Spirits are an important part of this, as many are derived from wheat. That’s not to say this should stop you from enjoying your favorite bloody mary at brunch or vodka tonic. The general rule is – if it’s made from wheat, don’t EAT (or drink it).
The alternatives (in no particular order) are – Corn, Potato, Grape, Barley and Rye. I’d like to put Barley and Rye in the “thanks for coming” pile, because many people are actually sensitive to these grains too. You may need to ditch the wheat in some alcohol brands, but others should be A-Ok.
Here is what you can ask your bartender to pour:
Gluten Free Vodka:
- Smirnoff vodka – derived from Corn
- Tito’s handmade vodka – derived from Corn
- Chopin vodka – Potato and Polish (Black cap is Potato Vodka)
- Ciroc Ultra Premium vodka – derived from Grapes
- Cold River vodka – made in Maine, comes in two flavors: plain and blueberry (made with real Maine wild blueberries)
- Luksusowa vodka – Potato
- Blue Ice vodka – Potato, Blue Bottle
- Bombora vodka – Derived from Grape
- Cayman Blue vodka – first distilled spirit certified gluten-free by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO), which tests products to make sure they contain fewer than 10 parts per million of gluten.
- *Three Olives is also Wheat-distilled, but declares itself to be Gluten-Free on the Three Olives website
NOT GLUTEN FREE: Stolichnaya (blend), Grey Goose, Ketel One, Snow Queen, Pearl, Van Gogh (blend), La Chance, Vox, Polar Ice, Absolut, Trump, X-Rated (blend)
- Rye: Belvedere
- Barley: Finlandia, Koskenkorva
- Whatever you do, do NOT drink Grey Goose – it says derived from wheat right on the bottle
Gin is controversial since it is a mixture of grains.
If you are sensitive to grain distilled liquor, here are some other options:
- Cold River Gin, made from potatoes
- G-Vine gin products made from grapes
Tequilla is made from the Blue agave plant traditionally should be gluten free. Try and avoid cheaper brands. If the tequila bottle does not state 100% agave, then it’s mixto, and contains additional sugar and gluten.
Whiskey is made from Barley and may not be gluten free entirely
Bourbon must be made from at least 51% corn, which is a gluten-free grain. However, the rest of the mash that goes into bourbon (up to 49% of the total) generally comes from wheat, barley and rye
About.com: “No study has actually considered whether people with celiac and gluten intolerance can safely enjoy alcoholic beverages distilled from gluten grains without damage. A few researchers have tested gin, whiskey and gluten grain-based vodkas for gluten content, with mixed results — some have found gluten in them and some have not.
Theoretically, distillation, if it’s done properly, should remove all the gluten. But not all makers of alcoholic beverages distill enough times to purify their beverages completely. In addition, some add in a little of the grain “mash” (which does contain gluten) following distillation to improve color and flavor, and there’s always the possibility of cross contamination from gluten grains in the manufacturing facility following distillation.”