With gluten-free alcohol options for tequila, bourbon, rum, gin, vodka, and more, this is the only guide you need to navigate the liquor store on a gluten-free diet.
One of the most frustrating parts of having a gluten allergy is that it tends to get in the way of your fun. It took me a while to overcome my denial that not all bottles of vodka, gin and rum are actually gluten-free, even though in theory, like many old world fare, their original production was very much so.
In this post, I share a list of the best and most mainstream gluten-free alcohol options available, including picks for bourbon, vodka, gin, tequila and rum.
Jump to your favorite type of gluten-free alcohol:
- The Best Gluten-Free Bourbon and Whiskey Brands
- The Best Gluten-Free Rum Brands
- The Best Gluten-Free Tequila and Mezcal Brands
- The Best Gluten-Free Vodka Brands
- The Best Gluten-Free Gin Brands
- Is Campari Gluten-Free?
- Is Champagne, Wine, or Cider Gluten-Free?
- More gluten-free diet resources you’ll love
There were times in my 20’s when I was less discerning about the gluten content in my cup. I’m not alone in this, mind you. My friend Jessie is celiac, but also a good ole Southern girl. She has refused to give up whiskey and remains convinced that the distilling process removes most of the gluten to justify her continued devotion to mint juleps (among other gluten-free cocktails and drinks).
But since this post on The Best Gluten-Free Beer and Cider Brands 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 fancy, does not mean that they are wheat free. Oops.
What can make sorting through gluten-free alcohol brands tricky is that even if a spirit is made from gluten-containing ingredients, if the alcohol is processed to remove gluten, the brand can still label the product gluten free. For many who are just sensitive to gluten, it might not be a problem. But those with celiac disease should be aware that there could still be small traces of gluten.
I put together a gluten-free alcohol list below in addition to more information on whether bourbon, vodka, gin, tequila, rum, wine and champagne can be considered gluten-free across the board if you come upon a less mainstream brand.
Unless you’re in a desperate situation–like say, at a wedding after 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 gluten-free alcohol options to sip on.
With health and hedonism,
GLUTEN-FREE ALCOHOL LIST
The Best Gluten-Free Bourbon and Whiskey Brands
When I first was diagnosed with a gluten allergy, I just assumed that all alcohols in the whiskey family were off limits since they are made from non-gluten-free grains. This was very upsetting, as hot toddy season is my favorite season. Luckily there are some gluten-free types of whiskey.
Is whiskey gluten-free?
Scotch and Irish whiskey are both made from 100% malted barley, as is Japanese whiskey, which was modeled off scotch. Rye whiskey is made from a mix of at least 51% rye, and usually corn makes up the remaining mash. Though it is considered a rye, there is usually much less rye and more corn used in Canadian whiskey than American whiskey.
Bourbon, on the other hand, is a type of American whiskey that is traditionally made from all corn. Unfortunately, many brands use malted barley now to form a percentage of the mix. So it’s not a foolproof gluten-free category, just a better bet than most whiskeys.
My Pick: Makers Mark is on many gluten-free lists, and though the Lapines are a devout Jack Daniels family, it’s my favorite bourbon option (don’t tell). However, Celiac.com reports that Marker’s Mark uses a small percentage of wheat in addition to corn in the mash. I’ve consumed it without reaction since the gluten protein doesn’t make it past the distillation process, but please avoid if you are very sensitive. You can find more niche small batch options that use 100 percent corn here, including Hudson Baby Bourbon.
The Best Gluten-Free Rum Brands
Is rum gluten-free?
Rum is made from sugarcane, specifically molasses, which makes all rum a naturally gluten free product. So long as you don’t opt for specific flavors, most rum brands are a safe bet for those with gluten allergies.
My Pick: Bacardi Superior. Bacardi has confirmed that their products are all gluten-free except Bacardi Silver. Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum is also confirmed gluten-free if you like dark rum.
The Best Gluten-Free Tequila and Mezcal Brands
Is tequila gluten-free?
Since it is made from agave, 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.
Mezcal is also made from blue agave, but the process includes roasting, which is the element that gives mezcal its signature smoky flavor.
The Best Gluten-Free Vodka Brands
Is vodka gluten-free?
Traditionally made vodka from the old country was naturally gluten-free since it is distilled from potatoes. However, today, sometimes vodka is made from other ingredients which do contain gluten, like rye and barley. Gluten free vodka brands that are mainstream today are made from corn, potatoes, and rice.
My Pick: My favorite, though slightly more niche, is Tito’s Vodka which is made completely from corn. Smirnoff products are labeled gluten-free, but they are made from rye with the gluten removed. If you’re very sensitive, avoid it – especially 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.
The Best Gluten-Free Gin Brands
Is gin gluten-free?
Like vodka, gin used to be considered a gluten-free spirit since it is made from juniper berries. But today many modern brands use a base alcohol made from gluten containing grains and then add the juniper and botanicals later on in the distilling process. For example, Bombay Sapphire is made from wheat and rye. However since it is removed in the distillation process, they consider their product gluten-free.
Gin is one of those categories of gluten-free alcohol where you want to be mindful of your sensitivity. Some celiacs who react easily even when the protein is removed in the distillation process should steer clear of most gins.
My Pick: 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. It is considered safe by celiac organizations, even though it is made from some rye. However if you’re looking for something made from 100 percent potatoes, try Cold River Gin. You just won’t be able to find it widely available at bars.
Is Campari Gluten-Free?
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. And we haven’t had a problem with it.
Is Champagne, Wine, or Cider Gluten-Free?
All spirits made from grapes like wine and champagne are naturally gluten-free. If you’re looking for the best biodynamic and organic wines check out my list.
Similarly most cider brands are made from apples and are completely gluten-free. Check out my list of the best gluten-free cider brands here.
More gluten-free diet resources you’ll love:
- The Best Organic Gluten-Free Pasta Brands
- 7 Common Mistakes People Make When Cooking Gluten-Free Pasta
- The Best Gluten-Free Pizza Crust Brands
- The Best Gluten-Free Bagel Brands
- The Best Gluten-Free Sauces and Condiments
- Best Gluten-Free Cracker Brands
DISCLAIMER: 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 each brand. I’ve provided links where I can to others’ research on these alcohols.