Turning 21: Here's What Alcohols Are ACTUALLY Gluten Free
Happy birthday to me! Can you believe that I'm actually 21 now? I really can't because I feel like it's been a long time coming. I originally created this blog back when I was 15 years old so this is crazy to think I'm still here blogging as an official adult. (21 classifies as an official adult, right? Lmk) Obviously, I had to spend my 21st birthday doing what most newly 21 year olds would do; Looking up which alcohols are gluten-free and making sure they're safe to drink. Lol I kid but this was definitely a part of my alcohol purchasing adventure this weekend. I already was pretty knowledgeable on what alcohols are gluten-free but there is a lot that many people don't know. Here's a list of my favorite gluten-free alcohols as well as what alcohols are safe, not safe, and "try at your own risk." Drink responsibly!
Alcohols that are often safe for those with celiac disease:
Alcohols that are NOT safe for those with celiac disease:
Beer (unless fermented from gluten-free ingredients)
My favorite gluten-free alcohols that I feel comfortable drinking:
Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey Whiskey
Angry Orchard Less Sweet Cider
Ground Breaker Blonde Ale
Captain Morgan Spiced Rum
Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc
You may be wondering, wait, aren't some of those alcohols distilled from wheat, rye, malt, or barley? The answer is, yes, they are distilled from gluten containing ingredients. However, here's a little tidbit about what the distillation process that these ingredients go through.
Most distilled alcohols are safe for those with celiac disease:
"Pure, distilled liquor, even if made from wheat, barley, or rye, is considered gluten-free. Most liquors are safe for people with celiac disease because of the distillation process. However, be on the lookout for hidden gluten in liquors that add flavorings or other additives after distillation. There is also a risk for gluten cross-contamination in facilities that process products containing wheat, barley, or rye." - Beyond Celiac
So in short, whiskey, bourbon, vodka, and any other distilled liquors are considered gluten-free and safe for those with celiac disease due to the distillation process. However, like with anything made in a shared facility, there is a risk of cross contamination if distilled from a gluten-containing ingredient. To be 100% safe every time, choose alcohols distilled from gluten-free ingredients. I've never had issues with the alcohols that I recommended but the choice is up to you.
Fermented "gluten-removed" alcohols are NOT safe for those with celiac disease
"A new research study conducted by the Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG), the leader in the certification of gluten-free products and food services, indicates that beers labeled “gluten-removed” may not be safe for those with celiac disease." - The Gluten Intolerance Group
So I'll get straight to the point. Alcohols that claim to be gluten-removed such as Omission Beer are not safe for those with celiac disease. Scientists have proved that trace amounts of gluten containing ingredients can still end up in the finished product. This is opposed to distillation where gluten is 100% removed from the ingredient itself.
Important tip for alcohols on tap:
Many of the alcohols on tap often share the same line or have shared the same line with gluten-containing beers at some point. This means that there is a high risk for cross contamination even when ordering cider. If you see cider on tap at a bar, it is best to see if they have it in a bottle instead.
I recommend taking this knowledge and doing whatever makes YOU feel most comfortable. I personally have never gotten glutened from Jack Daniels, Svedka Vodka, Captain Morgan, and many other (slightly more expensive) distilled brands. However, I recommend avoiding the super cheap alcohols since there is more of a chance for cross contamination. Like I said earlier, drink responsibly, drink at your own risk, and make whatever decision makes you feel best.
Wondering if a specific alcohol is gluten-free? Comment below and I'll research it for you!