A Guide to Gluten-Free Liquor and Drinks (Just in Time for Summer!)

gluten-free-liquor-drinks-guide

As we’ve mentioned in the past, one of the things that makes a gluten free diet so difficult is that eating is such a social activity. In fact, it is probably the second most social thing we do as humans.

The most social thing we do? That’s easy – drinking.

And let’s face it. Having to give up beer makes drinking pretty darn difficult at times.

Well, just as we’ve seen an explosion in gluten free dining options lately, there has also been an explosion of gluten free drinking options!

So since summer just started and many of you will be looking for a nice beverage for your BBQ, your trip to the beach, or other summer activities, here are some of your newest gluten free drinking options.

 

Gluten Free Cocktail Mixers from Top Shelf Mixers

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Craig Franzblau, CEO of Top Shelf Mixers. Top Shelf Mixers makes a full line of high quality cocktail mixers. What makes these mixers unique from the stuff you can pick up at your local liquor store?

Diagnosed with celiac in 1997, Craig personally makes sure that all aspects of Top Shelf Mixers’ beverages (from the ingredients to the manufacturing procedures) meet strict gluten free standards. Just to be safe, random samples are tested for gluten as well.

They currently have 7 different delicious mixers to choose from (Mojito, Pomegranate Martini, Jalapeno Bloody Mary, Lemon Drop, Cosmopolitan, Margarita and Apple Martini). The mixers are made in a dedicated gluten free facility using real fruits, vegetables and pure cane sugar. They have a much lower caloric value than most mixers (less than 70 calories per serving) and have a low acidity as well.

Want even more good news? You can order them online through their website and the shipping is free!

 

Mike’s Hard Lemonade Cuts the Sugar AND the Gluten!

Mike’s Hard Lemonade has always been off-limits for us celiacs. In fact, it falls into a broad class of (barley) malt-based drinks like Smirnoff Ice and Bacardi Silver that are notoriously not gluten free.

Well, in a recent press release, Mike’s Hard Lemonade Co. announced that they will begin selling Mike’s Lite Hard Lemonade. This new lite version will only contain 100 calories per bottle. Additionally, the company claims that it is gluten free!

The press release claims:

In addition to the breakthrough taste, mike’s lite hard lemonade® and mike’s lite hard cranberry lemonade® are gluten-free. Both products have tested below the limit of quantification for gluten using a variety of highly sensitive tests – a result of Mike’s Hard Lemonade Co.’s proprietary filtration process that renders the malt base gluten-free.

The lite version comes in two flavors (Lemonade and Cranberry Lemonade).

 

Finally, a Gluten Free Beer in a Can!

Joseph James Brewing Company has accomplished the unthinkable. They have put their gluten free Fox Tail beer in a can!

Fox Brews are delicious AND gluten free. Unlike some other gluten free breweries, they test every single batch both pre- and post-fermentation for gluten using the highest standard.

Now that we’ve taken care of the gluten free aspect of it, let’s get to the fun part. We can finally drink beer out of a can again!

Their canned Fox Tail beers were so wildly successful that they sold out almost immediately. Currently, there is another batch that should be canned and ready for sale in early July.

To search for locations to purchase their gluten free beers, visit www.FoxBrews.com. If you don’t see any locations near you, email info@foxbrews.com to find out how to go about finding some.

 

A Light Gluten Free Beer?

If you’re like me, than you love having a gluten free beer or two.

The problem? I can’t have more than one or two! Gluten free beers are often very heavy and high in caloric value, making them difficult to drink in larger quantities.

One company has decided to do something about this.

New Planet Beer (one of the billion gluten free companies located in Colorado) has recently added a new gluten free beer to their delicious lineup. Tread Lightly Ale joins 3R Raspberry Ale and Off Grid Pale Ale, but it is different than the others and different from most other gluten free beers in general.

At only 125 calories per bottle, it is much lighter than the alternatives and resembles something closer to a “light” beer.

Learn more about their beers and order online at www.newplanetbeer.com.

 

Being Gluten Free Keeps Getting Better!

I would have never imagined last year that I would be going into this summer being able to drink dedicated gluten free cocktails, Mike’s Hard Lemonade, canned beer and even light beer! Who said that all of the improvements to the gluten free lifestyle had to be food-based anyway?

Here’s to a jolly gluten free summer!

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Comments ( 22 )

  • Karen Broussard

    Great article, Max. While my gluten-free son is too young to drink yet, this is great news for the gluten-free community…giving people more fun and varied options.

  • Alex

    This is an awesome article. It’s extremely important to let new Celiacs know they can still have something to drink when they go out. I’m in the process of creating the Glutenless, a website designed to help Celiacs find gluten free beer around the world. While Joseph James is a great option, there are a few more prevalent (and cheaper) options out there…come check them out sometime!

  • Jen

    I’m pumped about the Mike’s Hard Lemonade – that’s awesome!!

  • Rainya Mosher

    So Mike’s Hard Lemonade still uses the barley malt, but are testing as gluten free. That would be such awesome news! Would you happen to know if the test puts it below 20ppm or 10ppm or some other limit? For those super sensitive, even 20ppm can be too much. :(

  • Julie

    Re Mike’s Hard Lemonade – unfortunately even 5ppm of gluten is still gluten for those of us with Celiac.

  • GlutenFreeBeer.org

    Since this article was published, a new test has come out that shows that a number of even Gluten Free Beers have a fairly large ppm count for gluten. The problem has been that the tests could only test to 5ppm, this new test, which is being verified by other labs now, goes to 0ppm. Some studies have shown that there is affects from gluten on Celiac sufferers down to far less than 5ppm. For my family, 1ppm is 1 too many.
    Claiming that all distilled liquor is gluten free by the distillation process is a broad and unproven statement. There are a number of gluten containing items used in the process of making alcohol and wine. Be careful drinking anything that you don’t know from the manufacturer (if they know) that their product is gluten free. Companies are trying to board the GF bandwagon and will stretch the truth to do so.
    There are some great reviews on the Gluten Free Beer Association website. I will be reviewing the new Dogfish Head Gluten Free Beer tomorrow. Yeah!!

  • Anne Pilon

    What is safe to put in the mixers?

  • Bill

    Any quality distilled liquor is rendered completely GF by the process. The protein does not pass through the processing. This is proven science not speculation.

  • Carin

    Are wines safe – gluten free?

  • Grace Prince

    I am gluten free and so is my grandsons and daughter. They are strict and I am also a dietitian and am constantly asked questions about gluten foods. Please notify me of follow-up comments.

  • Jan Lovern

    What are ALTOS??????

  • Sonya Meade

    The Mike’s website claims it is 5ppm

  • Kathleen

    I agree it’s nice to know the ppm. I’ve had the Mike’s lite raspberry and i enjoyed the taste but I got a sick stomach and bloating,gas. Needless to say I didn’t have them again. A few months went by and I wanted to try again..but when I went to buy it the new package didn’t say it was GF like the first package. I put it back on the shelf. Hope they really can get it down to 3ppm or less.

  • Amanda

    “Mike’s hard lemonade products available in the United States are lemon malt based beverages (fermented barley beer malt) yet highly sensitive tests indicate that mike’s products do not contain any traces of gluten. As you can imagine, it’s pretty exciting and unique to be able to remove gluten as we have so we cannot elaborate on our filtration process.
    Our products were sent to the Food Allergy Research Program at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln to be analyzed using the R5 ELISA test which is currently the industry recognized test for gluten. To be considered gluten free, products must test below 20 ppm (parts per million). In this test one ppm is equal to one milligram of gluten per kilogram of sample. The lowest the R5 ELISA test can quantify is 5 ppm. Our mike’s hard lemonade products tested below the limit of quantification, meaning less than 5 ppm, less than the 20 ppm needed to quality as gluten free……”

  • GlutenFreeBeer.org

    According the the new ruling by TTB (bit.ly/LgPTPm) no alcohol that is produced from gluten containing grains can be labeled as gluten free regardless of any testing. My guess is that once the new test I mentioned below is proven effective, the ruling can be changed. The other way the ruling can change is for the FDA to define gluten free, there is currently a thought process but no ruling from the FDA. We at the Gluten Free Beer Assoc would request a 0 ppm standard for gluten free and everything else, like Mike’s to be labeled Low Gluten which according to Amanda it is. :-)

    It is always best to know exactly where we stand when deciding on food and beverage products as Celiacs. :-)

  • GlutenFreeBeer.org

    Always start with an alcohol that is based on non-gluten containing ingredients. There are many vodka’s that are potato based. You have a number of options to choose from but checking with the manufacturer is always the best course of action!

  • Carise

    For me, it’s the stevia that’s in it that causes me stomach issues and a headache. A LOT of people are allergic to stevia including me. Just a thought…

  • Lara

    I only saw under the FDA’s limit of 20 ppm. I would stay away.

  • GlutenFreeBeer.org

    Bill,

    There is no current science that can allow anyone to claim it “is proven”. The current best possible test only goes down to 5ppm. At this time, the test that will go to 0ppm is not verified. So, you are incorrect scientifically and if someone has Celiac disease then your statement can endanger their health if they believe what you say. Again, there is no “science” that can prove GF for any beverage at this time.

    In our family, we have gotten sick from drinking liquor that claimed to be gluten free. For our family, 1ppm is 1 too many.

    Again, choose a liquor that starts with gluten free grains and then find out about their process. You cannot be too safe if you have Celiac disease!

  • GlutenFreeBeer.org

    Hi Carin,

    Unfortunately, that is not a simple yes or no question. The answer lies in how sensitive you are to gluten. I spoke with a young lady yesterday that is in college and still lives at home. She is the only gluten free person in her house and uses the same plates and pots that everyone else uses. She says it isn’t a problem for her. In our family, about half of us would be very ill with her situation.

    I believe that a Celiac will react to ANY gluten present whether they get sick or not. Therefore, we should avoid not only all gluten but all cross contamination when possible. Wine is one of those cross contamination issues.

    There is no current accepted test that will test to 0 ppm so we are left to accept 5 ppm as the lowest test available. Wheat based barrel pastes and fining agents with wheat are the problem in wine, not the wine itself. So, be cautious is the best advice.

  • Helen

    Wine is made from grapes and most US made wines will not contain gluten. Occasionally flour paste is used to seal oak barrels or gluten is used in fining, but those practices are very rarely done in the US, and are more common in Europe. If you really want to know if you’ll be okay, call the winery and ask if they use oak barrels, if they seal with flour paste and if they use gluten in the fining process.

  • Lara

    Many many people still can’t have Mike’s hard, so I would test the water’s very slowly with it.

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