Quick Answer on Gluten Free Alcohol
- The short answer is that if an alcohol is made without any gluten containing products, it can be labeled as gluten free and is safe to drink for anyone with a wheat allergy or celiac disease.
- If an alcoholic product is made from ingredients that contain gluten, but have since been processed/treated/crafted to remove gluten, they can label the alcohol gluten free. However, gluten may still remain. Use caution if celiac or allergic to wheat when drinking alcohol like this.
- Those who are very sensitive to gluten or wheat may still wish to avoid alcohol that is labeled “gluten removed” or “gluten free” if the alcohol is derived from a gluten containing ingredient. Stick to drinks that are made from gluten free ingredients (wine, rum, 100% agave tequila, etc.).
Following a gluten free lifestyle goes beyond the types of foods you can eat – you also need to watch what things you drink. Many alcoholic beverages are made with gluten containing ingredients, making them not safe for people with wheat allergies, celiac disease, or gluten intolerance.
This list has the most common types of alcoholic drinks, including distilled spirits, hard liquor, wine, beers, and more. Learn what is safe to drink or use in cooking when avoiding gluten.
What is gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye products. There are some people who are unable to digest these proteins, having celiac disease. You can also have an allergy to wheat, barley, or rye. Finally, some people find that they cannot eat gluten without it causing problems for them, be it they can’t digest it or they have a different autoimmune condition, making them avoid gluten.
Is alcohol gluten free?
The short answer is: It’s complicated. There are types of alcohol that can be naturally gluten free (think wine or rum) and there are alcohols that are made gluten free through the distillation process. Finally, there are types of alcohol that will always have gluten. However, many companies are now making more types of alcohol gluten free.
When looking for a gluten free alcohol, make sure you research the ingredients and distillation process. While I tried to make this list as thorough as possible, companies can also change their ingredients and processes, so if you have a doubt, make sure to contact the brewer directly!
FDA Ruling on Gluten Free Alcohol
In October of 2020, the United States Food and Drug Administration, the FDA, published a new requirement to clear up any confusion in the liquor stores about alcohol that can and can not be labeled gluten free.
Previously, in 2014 it was determined that if a company could prove scientifically that no traces of gluten were present in the final fermented drink, the drink was able to receive a gluten free label.
In August of 2020, the FDA reiterated that it knew of “no scientifically valid analytical method effective in detecting and quantifying with precision the gluten protein content in fermented or hydrolyzed foods in terms of equivalent amounts of intact gluten proteins.”
However, the FDA wanted to open the market to more options available for those on a gluten-free diet . First, they cleared up the confusion around gluten-free sources.
These new requirements, effective October 2020, state that since there is no scientific test that can prove a food or drink is gluten free, the main ingredient must be gluten free before any fermentation or hydrolysis can occur. All foods with a gluten free claim must keep records demonstrating “Adequate assurance that such ingredients are ‘gluten-free-’ before fermentation or hydrolysis.”
The ruling also states that the manufacturers must also ensure that there has been no cross-contamination at any point during the manufacturing process. This is how you can receive a gluten-free alcohol label.
However, there was evidence for gluten-free labeling in the distilled alcohol.
Treated for Gluten Free
The FDA now states that for those beverages that do not meet the label requirements for certifying gluten free, companies can apply a label of “processed or treated or crafted to remove gluten”. This label is only granted if the company can share a description of the method used to remove gluten from the product.
The company can use enzymes or just the distillation process to make gluten-free alcohol. The label they would receive is also “gluten free” but they would have to state that it was treated/processed/or crafted to have removed the gluten.
The FDA is clear that this requirement does not imply that any results from the purpose can support a gluten free claim.
During the distillation process for many types of alcohol, the gluten protein is removed (vaporized actually) making types of alcohol safe to consume even if you have celiac disease. The gluten ppm is below 20 making the item gluten free.
“Because distillation removes protein if good manufacturing practices are followed, and because it is possible to verify the absence of protein or protein fragments in these products using scientifically valid analytical methods, FDA will permit “gluten-free” claims on distilled products from gluten containing grains as long as good manufacturing practices are followed to prevent the introduction of any gluten-containing material into the final product,” claims the FDA.
However, there are those in the gluten free community with a severe gluten intolerance who are still sensitive to even these small numbers. A lot of this depends on you and your body and what is considered tolerable.
Additionally, if you have a wheat allergy then you should never drink alcohol that is made from wheat because while the gluten is removed, the allergen remains.
Finally, you still need to be on the lookout for additives to the drinks that will make them unsafe, as well as cross contamination in the manufacturing process.
Disclaimer: Companies change their ingredients and manufacturing processes all the time. This list is correct when writing though it can change at any time due to the changing practices of companies. Do your own research and contact any companies for drinks you are unsure of containing gluten.
So, is alcohol gluten free?
Yes and no. If you have a severe gluten intolerance, celiac disease, or a severe wheat allergy, I do not recommend drinking any alcohol that has had the gluten removed in the distillation process or with an enzyme. There is no way to guarantee that the alcohol is safe to drink.
If you are not as sensitive, these drinks may be safe for you to consume.
Again, this is all dependent on your body and what you fine tolerable.
Is Angry Orchard gluten free?
Yes, all Angry Orchard ciders are gluten free. They also state on their website that they make their hard cider in a gluten-free facility and check the equipment to make sure of no cross-contaminations.
Angry Orchard is free from most allergens with the exception of sulfites.
Best options for gluten free Angry Orchard: All!
Is Amaretto gluten free?
Yes, most Amaretto is gluten free because it is made with almonds, apricot kernels, and peach stones.
There is a possibility of Amaretto being produced in a facility that does contain wheat or gluten so be sure to check with the manufacturer so that no cross contamination occurs.
Is Bacardi gluten free?
Yes, Bacardi rum is gluten free, however Bacardi Silver is NOT gluten free. The silver variety is made with malt, a barley product, which contains gluten.
Other Bacardi should be safe as it is a rum which is made from molasses. To be safe, make sure you contact the manufacturer for the latest updates.
Best options for gluten free Bacardi: Bacardi Gold, Bacardi Superior, Bacardi 151
Is Blue Curacao gluten free?
Yes, Blue Curacao is gluten free. It is made from the lahara fruit, a bitter citrus fruit. The blue color comes from color additives added after the distillation process, so if you are sensitive to food coloring, you should avoid this drink.
Is Bourbon gluten free?
It depends. Bourbon is labeled treated for gluten as bourbon is made from gluten containing ingredients but those gluten proteins are destroyed in the distillation process. As a result, the gluten proteins are vaporized, making bourbon safe for most celiacs to drink. Drink this with caution if you are allergic to wheat, barley, or rye, or are very sensitive to gluten proteins.
There is another new option in corn bourbon made at Hudson Baby Bourbon. However, they do not state on the website that they are gluten free as it is made in a small distillery that also processes gluten grains.
Best options for gluten free bourbon: Hudson Baby Bourbon (with caution)
Is Captain Morgan gluten free?
Yes, most Captain Morgan products are gluten free because they are made with rum. Rum is made from molasses which is a byproduct of sugarcane processing. That makes this a naturally gluten free product.
Captain Morgan does make flavored drinks, however, and some of the ingredients in those have gluten. Sticking to the original flavor is safest.
Best options for gluten free Captain Morgan: Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum
Is Cointreau gluten free?
Cointreau is gluten free. It is made with sweet and bitter orange peels, sugar, water, and sugar beet alcohol. Cointreau is a brand name for a type of triple sec. It has a stronger flavor that other triple secs.
It is one of the safer drinks for those with a wheat allergy or celiac disease to have.
Best options for gluten free Cointreau: Cointreau original
Is champagne gluten free?
Yes, most champagne is gluten free since champagne is made from wine grapes. Grapes do not contain any gluten or wheat naturally.
However, it is possible that the champagne was aged in oak barrels that contained other alcohols that are not gluten free, causing cross contamination. When in doubt, also ask the manufacturer if gluten was involved in the process.
Is ginger beer gluten free?
True ginger beer is gluten free since it is made from ginger ale that has been allowed to ferment. However, there are many imposters so caution is advised. True ginger beer is made from sugar, ginger, and water.
Best options for gluten free ginger beer: Bundaberg, Fever Tree
Is Guinness gluten free?
No, Guiness is not gluten free. Guinness contains barley malt, which contains gluten. You should not drink this if you have celiac disease, wheat and barley allergies, or a high sensitivity to gluten.
Is gin gluten free?
Sometimes gin is gluten free. Gin is made from juniper berries and other botanical ingredients. However, they use a carrier alcohol grain, such as wheat, corn, rye, or barley, which does contain gluten (with the exception of corn). Many celiacs choose to avoid gin because of this.
If you are very sensitive to gluten or allergic to wheat, make sure to source a gin that uses corn.
Best options for gluten free gin: Cold River Gin (distilled from potatoes)
Is Kahlua gluten free?
Yes, Kahlua is gluten free since it is made from rum, coffee, vanilla, and sugar. Rum is traditionally made from molasses.
There is a possibility of cross contamination for rum in the processing of the rum with other flavors. Please ask the manufacturer about if the flavor you want is safe.
Is Malibu Rum gluten free?
Yes, Malibu Rum is gluten free. Rum is made from molasses and requires no wheat or gluten based products. Malibu also states on their website that they add no known gluten -derived ingredients to their products, making this a safe choice for those with a wheat allergy or celiac disease.
Is a margarita gluten free?
Yes, most margaritas are gluten free. The margarita is made from tequila, which is made from the agave plant. Agave is a desert plant that makes a syrup similar to sugar water or honey.
Are Peach Schnapps gluten free?
Yes, Peach Schnapps is a gluten free drink. Schnapps is made from the distillation of peaches and no ingredients containing gluten.
Is Prosecco gluten free?
Yes, Prosecco is gluten free. Prosecco is made from a specific type of Glera grape, which comes from Slovenia. Grapes are naturally gluten free, making this a safe choice for those with a wheat allergy or gluten intolerance.
Is rum gluten free?
Yes, rum is gluten free. Rum is traditionally made from sugar and molasses, making it a very safe choice for people with wheat allergies or celiac disease.
Just be aware that cross contamination can occur in flavored varieties of rum, especially in the mixers intended for pina coladas. Many of those contain gluten ingredients for flavoring.
Best options for gluten free rum: Bacardi Gold, Bacardi Superior, Captain Morgan, Malibu Rum
Is Smirnoff gluten free?
Yes, Smirnoff is gluten free thanks to the distillation process. Standard Smirnoff is made from vodka made from rye, but the gluten protein is vaporized during distillation. For those who are very sensitive to gluten, or have a rye allergy, another option might be advised.
Smirnoff Ice is not gluten free because it is a malt-based beverage. Malt is made from barley which contains gluten.
Is tequila gluten free?
Yes, 100% agave tequila is gluten free because it is made from the agave plant. Agave is a plant native to Mexico and does not contain any gluten, wheat, barley, or rye. It is generally considered safe to drink. Avoid flavored tequila to avoid cross-contamination of flavors and allergens.
Best options for gluten free tequila: 1519 Tequila, 1800 Tequila, Don Julio, Jose Cuervo, Patron
Is Triple Sec gluten free?
Yes, triple sec is gluten free. It is made from cointreau and orange peels, both of which are gluten free. However, the carrier alcohol is sometimes made from gluten containing ingredients. I advise caution when enjoying triple sec.
Best option for gluten free triple sec: Dekuyper, Hiram Walker
Is Vermouth gluten free?
Yes, Vermouth is gluten free. It is a type of sweet red wine made with added botanicals, spices, roots, and herbs. Since wine is made from grapes, they are naturally gluten free, making it safe for those with a wheat allergy and celiac.
However, this is a possibility of cross contamination during the manufacturing process. Make sure you contact the specific company you wish to purchase to ensure it is gluten free.
Is Vodka gluten free?
Sometimes. Vodka distilled from potatoes is gluten free. However, sometimes vodka is made from other ingredients which do contain gluten. Your options for gluten free vodka can be made from different base ingredients like corn, grapes, potatoes, rice, or even sugar. Check with the manufacturer to ensure you are enjoying a gluten free vodka.
Best options for gluten free vodka: Deep Eddy (corn based), Tito’s (corn based), Bombora (grape based), Cirrus (potato based), Chase (potato based), Cold River Vodka (potato based), Kissui (rice based), Downunder (sugar based)
Is whiskey or Jack Daniel’s gluten free?
Traditionally, whiskey is gluten free thanks to the distillation process labeling it treated and processed to remove gluten. However, it is not barley, or rye free. Jack Daniel’s is made from 80% corn, 12% barley, and about 8% rye.
If you are avoiding gluten, due to the distillation process it should be safe. However, if you have a barley, corn, or rye allergy, it is probably best to avoid.
There are a few companies that make whiskey that are not based in gluten-containing grains.
Best option for gluten free whiskey: Queen Jennie Whiskey by Old Sugar Distillery (made from sorghum, a gluten free grain) and Gold Spur Corn Whiskey by Cowboy Country Distilling (made from corn, millet, and oats)
Is White Claw gluten free?
Yes, White Claw states on their website they are gluten free using all gluten free ingredients. They are safe to drink for those who have celiac disease, wheat allergies, or high sensitivity to gluten.
Is beer gluten free?
Beer is not gluten free. However, there are a number of beers on the market that have been treated with an enzyme to break down the gluten and then filtered to remove any proteins. They can be labeled gluten free in the EU but not in Canada or in the USA.
Is wine gluten free?
Yes, wine is made from grapes, which are naturally gluten free. All wines, including brandy, champagne, cognac, port wine, sherry, and vermouth should be safe for celiacs. Be careful of any cross-contamination in the manufacturing process and contact the company directly with any questions you may have.
Is Sake gluten free?
Sake is mostly gluten free. Sake is made from fermented rice and koji enzymes. The koji enzymes are grown on Miso, which is made from barley. However, since sake is made from a product that is two steps removed, it should be safe for those who are celiac. However, if you are very sensitive, I would avoid it.
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