If you’ve recently been diagnosed with coeliac disease or a gluten intolerance, one of your first questions might be: is there gluten in alcohol? This question isn’t a simple one to answer, as there are so many different types of alcohol available, some of which contain gluten and must be avoided, and some of which are completely, naturally, gluten-free and can be enjoyed! Here’s what you need to know about gluten and alcoholic drinks.
What You Need to Know About Alcohol and Gluten
There are some alcoholic drinks which you’ll definitely need to avoid when you’re on a gluten free diet, such as beers, stouts, lagers and ales. These drinks are made from derivatives which contain gluten and aren’t safe for those on a gluten free diet. However, gluten-free varieties are available. You might just need to search for them. However, there are plenty of alcoholic drinks which don’t contain gluten, so you won’t need to skip the bar on your new diet. Here are a few to consider.
Naturally Gluten Free Alcohol
Naturally, gluten free alcoholic drinks include cider, wine sherry, port and liqueurs. As spirits are distilled during the manufacturing process, most of these are also naturally gluten free. Even spirits which are made from cereals that contain gluten, for example, whiskeys which are made with barley, are actually gluten free by the time they become spirits, as the distilling process removes any traces of gluten which might otherwise have been in the drink.
Of course, some spirits are derived from ingredients which are naturally gluten free anyway, so there definitely won’t be any gluten in the end product in these cases. The spirits you can enjoy without concern include rum, tequila and vodka, which is made from potatoes.
Is There Gluten in Wine?
If you’re a bit of a wine connoisseur you’ll be delighted to learn that wine is typically gluten free, and totally safe for those with intolerances or coeliac disease. The only thing you need to be aware of is that gluten may get into your wine through the ageing process. It’s because winemakers might use gluten ingredients (flour or wheat paste) to seal barrels of wine as they age. This may result in a tiny amount of gluten being present in the end product, which is unlikely to affect those with intolerances but could be enough to make someone with coeliac disease sick.
You’ll need to check if any colourings or flavourings have been added to the wine which might contain gluten – this is something to be aware of particularly if you’re enjoying a glass of dessert wine. However, most wine is absolutely safe for coeliacs and those with intolerances to enjoy – so you won’t need to miss out on that wine tasting!
A Gluten-Free Alternative to Beer
If you’re missing beer on your gluten free diet why not try cider instead? Cider is a great alternative to beer, as it’s not brewed with wheat barley or rye – it uses apples instead. Always make sure you check the ingredients of any cider you’d like to try though, as some might not be 100% gluten free.
Enjoy Gluten Free Alcohol in Moderation
Remember though, gluten free alcohol still needs to be enjoyed in moderation! That means no more than 14 units per week. Those 14 units are equivalent to six glasses of wine, six pints of gluten free beer, or 14 small shots of gluten free spirits. Cheers to that!