With an ever growing number of people interested in what is and is not gluten-free (whether they have a true intolerance or not), it’s always good to know what you’re able to drink without worry, and which beverages you need to avoid. Beer, of course, is off-limits to those who can’t digest gluten. But what about spirits like gin?
The answer is that all distilled spirits, including gin, are gluten-free. Even if the gin in question is made from grains that include gluten like barley, wheat or rye, none of the allergen remains after the distillation process is complete. You have science to thank for this phenomenon. When distilling a grain (or potatoes or fruit or whatever), alcohol is separated from everything else in the mash. This alcoholic vapor travels through the still and condenses into a liquid on the other side. All that remains in this process is the pure alcohol itself—all traces of gluten and sugar are left behind.
Regardless of the fact that all gin is gluten-free, you may find that some bottles mention it on the label while others do not. We understand that this is confusing, but it all has to do with labeling laws. If you want to label your spirit as gluten-free, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) requires you to undergo a third-party test. This, of course, costs money, and not all companies want to shell out the extra dough to advertise something that should already be known to the general public. So the next time you’re combing the liquor store shelves for a bottle of gin, don’t let the a gluten-free line on the label fool you into buying that bottle. All gin is gluten-free, no matter what it was distilled from originally.
That said, if you’re interested in trying some gins that are distilled from things other than wheat-filled grains, there are some solid options to explore. Chilgrove’s Dry Gin is made from grapes, while No. 209 Gin is distilled from midwestern corn. Williams Chase gin is distilled from estate-grown apples. But always remember that whatever gin you choose, you don’t have to worry about the gluten content because it doesn’t contain any.