The 6 Best Gluten-Free Liquor & Hard Alcohol Brands

The Best Gluten-Free Hard Liquors and Alcohols One of the most frustrating parts of having an allergy is that it tends to get in the way of your fun. No one wants to be that girl asking the diner waiter at 4am whether or not the French fries are dredged in flour as the rest of her friends begin housing mozzarella sticks.

So I’ve been a little negligent when it comes to being choosy about my alcohol when out. And it took me a while to overcome my denial that not all vodkas and gins are actually gluten-free, even though in theory, like many old world fare, their original production was very much so.

I’m not alone in this, mind you. My friend Jessie is gluten-free and a good ole Southern girl. She has refused to give up whiskey and has relied on some research that the distilling process removes most of the gluten to justify her continued devotion to mint juleps.

But since this post on gluten-free beers was so popular, I thought it was worth doing some investigating. And I was surprised to find out that just because Grey Goose and Kettle are expensive, does not mean that they are wheat free. Oops.

In order to maintain my status as semi-easy going party girl, I put together a list below of the best and most mainstream gluten-free liquor options available (one from each category – bourbon, vodka, gin, tequila, rum, etc.). Unless you’re in a desperate situation–like say, at a late night wedding after party in a hotel room with all of your college friends trying to continue the fun with one measly bottle of vodka and no mixers except for the jar of artisan honey you received as part of your welcome bag (which, for the record, tastes really delicious with vodka)–you should be able to find at least one of these liquors to sip on.

Drink up!

Xo
Phoebe

1. Makers Mark

When I first was diagnosed with a gluten allergy, I just assumed that all alcohols in the whiskey family were off limits. This was very upsetting, as hot toddy season is my favorite season. It wasn’t until Chef Race, when I declined Claire Robinson’s offer to buy me a Jack Daniels Black Label on the rocks that I realized that bourbon is traditionally made from corn. Unfortunately, many brands use malt or barley to form part of the mix. But Makers Mark has confirmed that they are gluten-free, and though the Lapines are a devout Jack Daniels family, it’s my favorite bourbon option (don’t tell).

2. Patron Silver

Most tequilas are gluten-free, but beware of the cheaper stuff which, regardless of gluten, will give you a hangover akin to number 4 in this list. Patron silver just so happens to be GF, which is a relief, because I am a frequent, if reluctant recipient of it in shot form. Jose Cuervo is also gluten-free if you’re looking for a more affordable option.

3. Smirnoff

Most Smirnoff products are gluten-free, but if you’re very sensitive, I would avoid some of the flavors. Smirnoff Ice is not gluten-free. I wish I had known this when “icing” people was a thing. That would have been an amazing get-out-of-jail free card. It’s a pretty ubiquitous vodka, so I try to drink it when I can, even if I get weird looks at classy establishments when I actively request Smirnoff.

4. Bacardi Superior

The vast majority of rums are gluten-free. Bacardi has confirmed that their products are – all except Bacardi Silver. Captain Morgan is also GF if you like dark rum.

5. Hendricks

A Hendricks G&T with cucumber is one of the more delightful cocktails on this planet. It’s also widely available abroad, so a good option if you don’t know how to say “is this gluten-free?” in French. Here’s a confirmation from one of the brand reps. Bombay Saphire is also gluten-free.

6. Campari

I researched this one pretty rigorously and found some contradictory information. However, this site puts Campari on their GF list. There’s nothing in the ingredients that would suggest otherwise. My mom (also GF) and I drink a lot of Campari soda before dinner. We are kind of old Italian men at heart.

NOTE: everyone’s sensitivities are different, so please do not take my word that you will not have a reaction to these products. Proceed with caution if you are highly allergic and test the waters to see if you can tolerate. I’ve provided links where I can to others’ research on these alcohols.

PPS: I am not an alcoholic! Just a 27-year-old in the food biz that likes to have fun. My Friday nights home alone watching Sex and the City are far less exciting to blog about.

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22 Responses to The 6 Best Gluten-Free Liquor & Hard Alcohol Brands

  1. Kelly says:

    What a great list, Phoebe! Always good to have a go-to in each category. Also, you must try Tito’s if you’re a vodka fan. A great, and gluten-free, choice—it’s my fave.

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  4. Mary says:

    What about scotch?

  5. Robin says:

    byejoe is another great gluten-free drink I’ve found. It’s a brand of baijiu, the traditional alcohol of China.

  6. Jack says:

    Bourbon is based on corn, but always has flavoring grains as well. Mostly rye, barley and wheat. Maker’s uses wheat and they are pretty proud of it because it’s a little less common.

    If Markers Mark has said they are gluten free, that lends some weight to the people who say distilled beverages are ok if they don’t have gluten added after the fact.

  7. jamie says:

    Are kinky vodka or sweet revenge whiskey gluten free?

  8. Pingback: Gluten Free Liquor Brands | my gluten free diet

  9. Emilie says:

    Thanks this is great information for celiacs who like to drink. Please keep it up

  10. Kathy Holtz says:

    Thank you for in info. I’m just trying to find things that I can have. It is a lot to take in.

  11. Pingback: Gluten Free Brands Of Vodka | my gluten free diet

  12. Andrew says:

    Per the Celiac Disease Foundation:

    “Distilled beverages and vinegars

    Most distilled alcoholic beverages and vinegars are gluten-free. These distilled products do not contain any harmful gluten peptides even if they are made from gluten-containing grains. Research indicates that the gluten peptide is too large to carry over in the distillation process, leaving the resulting liquid gluten-free.

    Wines and hard liquor/distilled beverages are gluten-free. However, beers, ales, lagers, malt beverages and malt vinegars that are made from gluten-containing grains are not distilled and therefore are not gluten-free. There are several brands of gluten-free beers available in the United States and abroad.”

    • Cristy says:

      I have heard this so many times but I have celiac along with an actual allergy to gluten and I don’t care what that statement says just because of the distillation process DOES NOT make it gluten free! I have had severe reactions to them trusting that statement.

  13. Jon says:

    Bourbon, like all whiskey, by definition is made from grains. Bourbon has a higher percentage of corn, but still has lots of grains in the mash. You don’t have to believe me, here’s the manufacturer’s website:

    https://www.makersmark.com/sections/106-ingredients

    Of the list above, the actual grain free ones are Patron tequila (or any other 100% agave tequila) and Bacardi rum (or any decent rum). Good tequila is distilled from 100% agave and will be labeled as such. Rum is distilled from sugar cane.

    Makers is made from a grain and corn mash. Smirnoff is distilled from grains, and Hendrick’s is neutral grain alcohol with infused botanticals.

    Right now, the only commercially available gin that isn’t made from neutral grain spirits is Monopolowa. They also make a potato vodka that’s a decent call spirit. If you want to upgrade, I recommend Tito’s (made from corn) or Ocean (made from sugar cane). Tito’s is cheaper and more available, Ocean is better tasting.

    I don’t know if Campari is grain free or not, so I’m not going to run my mouth about it. However, a little quick research tells me that it is likely made from neutral grain spirits.

    Sorry if this causes anyone trouble in their drink choices, but I wanted to throw in a little of the fairly obsessive research I’ve done in the subject.

    Also worth noting – the presence of grain spirit in an alcohol doesn’t mean it’s not gluten free necessarily. The distillation process is believed to destroy gluten, so if that’s your issue, you’re probably ok with any distilled alcohol (80 proof or above). However, if your issue is with grain or wheat (mine is) you may not fare as well.

    I hope this helps!

  14. Rebecca says:

    Makers Mark and smirnoff are not gluten free. why do you think they are?

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