Choosing Gluten Free Drinks

December 13, 2016 ,

During the holiday season, opportunities for drinking one (or a few) drinks increase. These occasions can be a source of concern for people who follow a gluten-free diet because gluten can be hidden in alcoholic drinks!

So, if you or any of your loved ones are suffering from celiac disease and should avoid gluten, it is better to be predictive, especially as vigilance generally decreases with the increase in the number of drinks!

To do this, it is important to learn to recognize and choose gluten-free drinks by identifying which ones need to be checked and which ones should be avoided altogether.

Cheers! – Gluten-free options


  • Wine, port, champagne (drinks made with grapes);
  • Pure apple cider (alcohol made from fermented apples);
  • Beer identified as gluten-free (made from gluten-free cereals such as rice or buckwheat);
  • Wholly distilled and pure alcohols (without additions of other ingredients), like most vodkas, gins, rums and whiskeys (they would not contain gluten or traces of gluten, even if they are sometimes made from one or more cereals containing gluten (e.g. barley).

The Grey Areas – Drinks to be checked *


… Because unfortunately, everything is not always black or white in the gluten-free diet!

  • Flavored alcoholic beverages such as chocolate liquor, coolers, and cocktail mixes such as Piña Colada;
  • The popular “punch” of the holiday season (If it is gluten-free at the base, it is enough to avoid inadvertent contamination (eg contaminated utensil, cutting boards used to slice other contaminated foods , Etc.));
  • Artisanal beverages;
  • Sake (There are several types of sake that are made from rice, but some ingredients may have been added in some versions to flavour them, although some manufacturers have versions that they identify as gluten-free. ).

To avoid – Sources of gluten


  • Regular beers **, ale, stout, porter and malt liquors, which are exempt from the regulatory requirement to declare the presence of gluten unless a list of ingredients can be found on the product label.

** To find out more about beers made from grains that contain gluten, but whose label states that gluten would have been removed from the final product, click here (French).

The manufacturer often wishes to keep the detailed recipe of their alcoholic beverages secret, but they are the only ones who possesses the necessary information concerning the presence gluten or traces of gluten in their products. In case of doubt, abstinence is always in order to celebrate without worrying!

* Note: Canadian regulations require that gluten sources be declared on the label of alcoholic beverages, whether or not they contain a list of ingredients (1). (Alcoholic beverages must contain 1.1% or more of alcohol to bear that name.)

Adapted from : FQMC. Pour un temps des fêtes arrosé et sécuritaire.

Source : Foods Allergens, Gluten and Added Suplhite Labelling – Alcoholic Beverages

Gluten-Free Meal Plans from SOSCuisine


Coeliaque Quebec
Coeliaque Quebec is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge in regard to diseases induced by gluten. Its mission is to ensure that a gluten-free life is simpler and safer. Marie-Eve Deschênes, RD, has been a dietitian at Coeliaque Quebec since 2008 and member of the College of Dieticians of Quebec.

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