Is Alcohol Gluten Free?

“Wait, you can’t drink beer?!” Being a college student with Celiac Disease, this is something I hear ALL THE TIME. I guess some college students can’t comprehend going one weekend, let alone a whole life, without drinking beer. But alas, that is my life. 

I’ve never been a big drinker. I just don’t like alcohol. I think it tastes terrible, and why drink empty calories of something you don’t even like? Since I never liked alcohol, I never thought too much about whether I could even drink all of it or not. I knew I couldn’t have beer, but I never even thought about other types. But over the summer, I turned the big 2-1 and ventured off the bar for the ‘first time.’ 

Approaching the bar to order my first legal drink was more nerve-wracking than I thought. All of a sudden I realized I couldn’t just go up and tell the bartender to make me his specialty, but had to ask him specific questions about each bottle of alcohol in eyesight. 

So, I did some research so I could be more prepared next time I went to a bar instead of being THAT girl who is holding up the bartender. Here’s what I found: 

Gluten Free Alcohols: 

1. Wine: They are made from grapes. So, totally safe. 

2. Hard Ciders: Tastes similar to beer, only won’t make you sick (unless you drink too much, of course). I suggest Angry Orchard or Woodchuck.

3. Rum: Rum is almost always gluten free. Watch out for flavored rums, they’re sneaky with the wheat. 

4. Vodka: ONLY when it is made from potatoes or corn. Not all of them are though so be careful! 

5. Tequila: When it is made from agave, it is. Once again, better check the label. 

Not Gluten Free: 

1. Beer: Made with wheat and barley, so obviously not safe for Celiacs! 

2. Whiskey: Some people are debating about this one. It is made with barley but then distilled. But I definitely wouldn’t trust that, so my advice would be to stay away.

3. Smirnoff Ice/Mike’s Hard Lemonade: Both made with malt. However, I hear Mike’s Hard Lemonade is in the process of making their drinks gluten free. So thumbs up for that!

Remember to always check ingredient labels! Some alcohols do not have ingredient labels, so websites are usually a good source of information. 


*Disclaimer: I am NOT a doctor. Or an expert about gluten free alcohol. So always remember to do your own research! 


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