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What Liquors Are Gluten-free? A Detailed Guide

What Liquors Are Gluten Free

Gluten, a protein obtained from wheat, barley, and rye, is present in many alcoholic drinks. However, there are many options, which do not contain gluten. So, what liquors are gluten-free?

Liquors, including brandy, gin, mezcal, rum, vodka, and whiskey are naturally gluten-free. They're produced by distillation, which removes gluten. In addition, fermented drinks like wine and cider are also gluten-free. Last but not least, drinks without malt or hydrolyzed wheat protein are safe, besides those marked "gluten-free."

On that note, if you're sensitive to gluten, you need to be careful about drinks that use brewer's yeast because it may contain gluten.

Read on to find out all you need to know about your gluten-free alcohol options!

Key Takeaways

  • Gluten is present in barley, wheat, and rye, which are often used in alcohol.
  • Liquors without additives don’t have gluten as it gets removed during distillation.
  • Other non-distilled drinks that don’t contain gluten include wine and cider.

What Common Drinks Have Gluten

Drinks That Have Gluten

If you’re medically required to stay away from gluten, your favorite alcohol can be your poison - quite literally. That’s because gluten can end up causing serious problems like malnutrition, intestinal damage, anemia, and more. So which drinks should you avoid?

Fermented Drinks

Fermented drinks have the highest chance of containing gluten, due to the grains used to derive sugar or starch. The drink has gluten if the starting material is barley, wheat, or rye. The most common gluten-rich fermented drink is traditional beer made of barley or wheat malt, including:


  • Pilsner
  • American Lager


  • Porter
  • Stout
  • Blonde/brown/pale/Indian pale/sour ale

Other gluten-containing fermented drinks are sake or rice wine with trace barley malt. Fermented drinks also have brewer’s yeast, which is only gluten free if it’s labeled so.

Flavored Drinks

Both fermented and distilled drinks may contain gluten if they are flavored. Flavoring agents, both artificial and natural, may come from gluten. This includes caramel and chocolate flavors, as well as fruity flavors.

So, flavored hard cider, hard lemonade, etc. might be unsafe. Distilled drinks with flavoring agents added after the distillation process, like flavored vodka, white rum, gin, etc. may also have gluten unless otherwise confirmed by the brand.

The possibility of gluten proteins present in added flavoring agents is also why drinking cocktails or mixed drinks may be risky. And while we are on the subject of natural or artificial additives, you should know that added colors may also contain traces of gluten.

Related: What Breads Are Gluten-free? A Detailed Guide

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Gluten-Free Alcohol List

Gluten-Free Alcohol

Right then, which drink can you safely and without the worry of getting any gluten-related symptoms? Thankfully, there are drinks that are safe for you to enjoy, be it during sports nights or a birthday party.

Distilled Alcohol

Irrespective of what the source ingredient might be, distilled alcoholic drinks are all naturally free of gluten. That's because the distillation process removes the protein molecules from the drink.

Why Is Distilled Alcohol Gluten Free?

Distillation was likely developed in 900 AD. The process purifies alcohol using evaporation and condensation. The fermented alcoholic mixture is first placed in a distilling flask and heated until it starts to boil.

Alcohol is lighter and more volatile than the other ingredients in the mixture, including water and proteins. So, it evaporates faster at a high temperature., while the steam passes through a condenser.

The vapor comes in contact with the cold surface and condenses to liquid alcohol, which is then collected as distillate.

But what happens to the other ingredients in the mixture like any contaminants or proteins, such as gluten? Well, they remain in the distilled flask. To sum up, all distilled alcohol is completely free of gluten content.

Alcohol Distillation Process

Image by Open Learn

What Distilled Liquors Are Gluten Free?

Hard liquors are high-alcohol drinks that are made by distillation. These can be divided into the following broad categories, all of which are naturally gluten free:

Is Brandy Gluten Free?

Brandy is produced by distilling fermented fruit mash or wine. So, its source ingredient is gluten free. Plus, the process of distillation removes any gluten content from yeast.

Spirits like cognac and absinthe, which are types of brandy are also gluten free. Popular brands include Dreher (brandy), Hennessy (cognac), Pernod (absinthe), etc.

Is Gin Gluten Free?

Gin is a juniper-flavored gluten free liquor. It's made by distilling alcohol produced from grain mash, including gluten grains. But distillation removes all its protein molecules.

Gin is categorized into Genever, London Dry, Plymouth, and Old Tom. Popular brands are Bols (Genever), Bombay Sapphire (London Dry), Plymouth Gin Navy Strength, and Herno (Old Tom).

Is Mezcal Gluten Free?

Another popular distilled spirit that's safe for people with gluten intolerance is mezcal. It is made from agave.

The source ingredient, as well as the process of distillation, makes it gluten free. Tequila is the most popular type of mezcal. The best brands are Casamigos (mezcal), Don Julio, etc.

Is Rum Gluten Free?

Rum is a popular distilled spirit that’s also compatible with low-carb diet plans. It is made by distilling fermented juice or molasses of sugarcane.

Different types of rum include agricole, dark rum, gold rum, naval strength, overproof, spiced rum, and white rum. Popular brands include Old Monk, Mount Gay, Ten to One, etc.

Is Vodka Gluten Free?

Vodka is another popular drink ideal for various restrictive diet plans, including a gluten free one. It is made from potatoes or grains, including gluten grains.

However, as mentioned already, distillation removes gluten. But flavored vodka may have gluten, as additives are added after distillation. Popular brands are Absolut, Smirnoff, Belvedere, Beluga, etc.

Is Whiskey Gluten Free?

A drink, enjoyed by many after a hard day's work, whiskey has a complex flavor profile. It is made from malted grains, including gluten grains. But again, distillation makes it gluten free.

All kinds of whiskey, including the most popular types like bourbon and scotch, are completely safe for consumption by folks, sensitive to gluten. Popular brands include Lagavulin (single malt), Jim Beam (bourbon), Johnnie Walker (Scotch), etc.

Fermented Alcohol

Fermented Alcohol

In addition to distilled alcoholic drinks, some fermented drinks are considered gluten free. as well. That’s because they have less than 20 ppm of gluten, which is the permitted limit per the FDA standards. Popular fermented drinks that you can drink without any health-related worries are as follows:

Is Wine Gluten Free?

Wine, including champagne, is a fermented alcoholic drink made by fermenting grapes. Fermentation needs yeast, though it’s usually a gluten-free strain.

Some brands use lab-developed yeast, and some brands remove the yeast. In all cases, yeast adds almost no gluten. Some of the best brands include Familia Torres, Penfolds, Antinori, etc.

Is Hard Cider Gluten Free?

Hard cider is often used as an alternative to beer. It is made by fermenting the juice of fruits. The most popular ingredient is apple juice. It is usually gluten free.

However, brewer’s yeast may add trace gluten to some cider varieties like Hornby’s or Harpoon. So, can additives. Gluten-free cider brands are Woodchuck, Angry Orchard, Downeast, etc.

Gluten-Free/Gluten-Removed Beer: Is Beer Gluten Free?

Some brands produce beer using non-gluten grains like sorghum or millet, making their drinks gluten free. Some beer brands are gluten-removed, with enzymes breaking down the protein.

But it may not be entirely safe for folks, suffering from extreme gluten sensitivity. The best gluten-free beer brands include Redbridge, Bard’s, New Grist, and New Planet.

Related: What Has Gluten in It? A Guide for a Gluten-Free Diet

Gluten-Free Alcohol Mixed Drinks and Flavored Spirits

Mixed Drinks with Gluten

Mixed alcohol drinks may or may not contain gluten, depending on the alcohol used, source ingredients, and additives. Liqueurs and amarettos may contain gluten, though there are gluten-free variants, too.

Some liqueur brands that are not certified gluten-free but are usually considered safe include Martini, Sambuca, Kahlúa, Hennessy, Grand Marnier, Disaronno, Cointreau, and Chartreuse. For gluten-free amaretto brands, you can try Hiram Walker.

Liqueurs like Baileys Original Irish Cream and Drambuie have a distilled alcohol base. But they also contain flavoring agents. And the brands make no promise that they are gluten free. Also, be careful when you pick cocktails or mixed drinks.

Drink mixers like cordial are also difficult to trust, as they may contain trace amounts of gluten, due to possible cross-contamination during the manufacturing process. A safer bet would be a naturally gluten-free hard seltzer brands like Arctic Summer, Bold Rock, Briggs, etc.

Beware of Cross-Contamination in Gluten Free Alcohol

Cross-contamination in Gluten-free Alcohol

Most of the above-listed drinking options are naturally gluten free, i.e. they are safe for you to consume. But they may not always have a certification to prove their gluten-free status, though.

Remember that there’s a slight chance of cross-contamination. That means some naturally gluten-free drinks may come in contact with gluten accidentally during the manufacturing stages, or when in storage. So, the safest option is to look for certified gluten-free drinks.

Last but not least, you can contact the brand directly to find out if there's a possibility of cross-contamination.

Related: What Cereals Are Gluten Free? From Oatmeal to Cornflakes

What Liquors Are Gluten-free? FAQs

Q: What Alcohol Can Celiacs Not Drink?

A: Celiacs cannot drink fermented alcoholic drinks containing malted gluten grains or large quantities of brewer's yeast. The most common drink to be avoided by celiacs is traditionally brewed beer that is neither gluten free nor gluten removed. They must also avoid sake, rice wine, or mixed drinks with gluten content.

Q: What Are Some Gluten-free Alcohol Seltzer Brands?

A: Some popular brands of gluten-free hard seltzer (alcoholic) are Bon & Viv, Cape Line, Coors, Corona, etc., which clearly display their gluten-free status on the packs. You can also find naturally gluten-free brands like Arctic Summer, Bold Rock, Briggs, Crook and Marker, etc.

Q: Are All Liquors Gluten-free?

A: Yes, all liquors are gluten-free. The word “liquor" refers to a category of alcoholic drinks, produced by distilling fermented alcoholic mixtures. Even if the original mix contains gluten grains, distillation removes the protein molecules. But if flavors or colors are added after distillation, the drink may have gluten.

Q: Is Crown Royal Gluten-free?

A: Yes, Seagram's Crown Royal is considered naturally gluten free. This is a popular brand of Canadian whiskey, which is a distilled alcoholic drink.

Q: What Are Some Gluten-free Beverages?

A: Among alcoholic beverages, all distilled spirits, i.e., brandy, gin, mezcal, rum, vodka, and whiskey are gluten free. So, are wine and hard ciders, despite of being fermented drinks. You can also find beer variants that are labeled gluten-free.

Related: How Long After Eating Gluten Do Symptoms Start?

Gluten-Free Spirits to Keep Your Spirit Up!

Now you know there is no need to stay away from all things alcoholic just because you have gluten intolerance. So, pour yourself a glass of wine or mix some rum and coke whenever you have a special occasion to celebrate! Just make sure to pick a gluten-free option to stay safe and healthy! And of course, drink responsibly!