The Great Gluten-Free Vodka Debate – The Answers, Please.

Gluten-Free Vodka List

So – the stories on Gluten-Free Vodka are mixed as a 21-year old’s birthday cocktail.  Many vodkas are distilled from grains that contain gluten, but experts (and science) say that the gluten is removed during the distillation process. I’ll provide you with the info, you make the decisions for your health.

Here’s a little more info from folks who know – it seems like they’re a little confused too:
The European Food Safety Authority considers distilled alcohol “unlikely to cause a severe reaction” in those with grain allergies and the Canadian Celiac Association allows distilled alcoholic beverages for people with Celiac even if they’re made with wheat, rye, or barley, since “the distillation process should remove the reaction-causing proteins”.

The U.S. FDA and TTB have ruled that distilled spirits with no additives (like flavors, so check your root beer-flavored vodka) are 100% safe, because the gluten protein is left behind in the distillation process.

Beyond Celiac says: “pure, distilled liquor, even if made from wheat, barley, or rye, is considered gluten-free. Most liquors are safe for people with celiac disease because of the distillation process.” However, the Celiac Sprue Foundation (now Celiac Disease Foundation) previously recommended no hard liquor from grains containing gluten, at least during the early phases of a gluten-free diet.

So, some of the experts say your Vodka Collins is fine no matter what, some advise waiting a few months after going gluten-free.  I say: check the Collins mix to make sure it’s GF too.

Here’s a list of popular Vodkas & what they’re distilled from:

  • Wheat: Stolichnaya/Stoli (blend), Grey Goose, Ketel One, Snow Queen, Pearl, Van Gogh (blend), La Chance, Vox, Polar Ice, Absolut, Trump, X-Rated (blend), Purity (blend), Three Olives (blend)
  • Barley: Finlandia, Koskenkorva
  • Rye: Belvedere
  • Corn: Smirnoff, SF Vodka “Baker Beach”, Tito’s (Tito’s is certified GF)
  • Potato: Chopin, Teton Glacier, Monopolowa, Vikingfjord, Luksosowa, Blue Ice
  • Grape: Cîroc, Bombora, DiVine, SF Vodka “China Beach”

pomegranate martiniFor the record, I’m with P.Diddy. I drink Ciroc at home and where I can find it, and wine the rest of the time. That’s what I use to mix up my pomegranate martinis.

Bottoms up!

PS: You can learn more about gluten in alcohol here. Wine is Gluten-Free, as are Cognac & Grappa. They’re all made from grapes.  If you’re concerned about contamination from barrel paste (which I am NOT AT ALL concerned about for a number of reasons) then choose wines that are stainless-steel fermented or are not aged in new barrels.

Wine Coolers, Fruit Flavored Wines & other wine-based drinks that aren’t 100% wine can contain Barley Malt, colors & flavorings.

40 thoughts on “The Great Gluten-Free Vodka Debate – The Answers, Please.

  1. Interestingly, most winemakers (both home and commercial) use something in the fermentation process called "yeast nutrients". Yeast nutrients nearly always contain barley. Still (and I'm very sensitive and drink a lot of wine) I've never had a reaction drinking wine. One presumes that the yeast consumes the barley completely during fermentation, and leaves no gluten residue.

  2. Hey Guys – we've had a few questions about my opinion on wine, so here's my explaination:

    Barrel paste VERY rarely contains wheat anymore – that was a mostly European practice. (I can't say never, because some obscure story will pop up, but I want to.) Further, the paste rarely touched the wine, and in the case that it did, the extended fermentation period would kill all traces of the gluten protein.

    So – I'm not worried about it, and I don't think you should be either. If you want to be super-safe, drink domestic wines.

    KC @ G-Free Foodie

  3. Prairie Organic Vodka made by RJ Phillips is made from corn. Gluten free, delicious, and for the "green" drinker, it is low waste and organic.

  4. Ceren, local vodka made in Colorado, is gluten free, made from sugar cane (?the famous Colorado sugar beet?) and is great! Too bad, gluten free vodka is not everywhere….

  5. Learn something new everyday. I thought Grey Goose was not distilled from wheat or gluten. I have been drinking Grey Goose sodas for years with no problem! Go figure…

  6. Tito's vodka is great!! it says on the bottle "gluten free" and it is a smooth vodka that has been distilled 6 times…..

  7. Don't forget about our little Ocean Vodka brand! We are family owned, handcrafted on the island of Maui, 100% organic AND 100% Gluten Free. We are the only vodka in the world made from organic sugar cane, and the only spirit in the world made with Hawaiian deep sea mineral water from 3000 feet below the Big Island. Needless to say, the high mineral content of our vodka makes incredible cocktails! We are only sold in 7 states now, mostly on the west coast, but we going national in the next few months. Cheers!

  8. Found out the hard way several weeks ago, thought I was CC from gluten w/ the food. Thankful I had the list last week @ an affair. Now it's Tito's or LIV (Long Island Vodka – comes flavored too). Thanks for the article.

  9. I can only have tito's (corn), Chopin (potato) and Ciroc (grapes). Most pinot grigio and Sauvignon Blancs are made in steel barrels. I do not drink anything without calling the company and finding out first. I have gotten very ill from Belvedere (rye)!

  10. I recommend trying 3 vodka. It's a soy vodka and is fantastic. It's a clear bottle with a red 3 on it. Hard to find but great when you do.

  11. As a scientist who has Celiac's, I can tell you the distillation process alone does not allow gluten into the final product. If they add malt afterwards, that's a different story. However, scientifically, gluten is non-volatile compared to ethanol that IS volatile; therefore ethanol is collected as the final product. Think about it like vaporization/condensation. If you boil sea or sand water with a slanted top lid that collects the condensation, the water collected will NOT have salt or sand bc they cannot vaporize like water can. Same thing with ethanol, it will vaporize and be distilled but gluten is too heavy of a molecule to vaporize. So if the alcohol is purely distilled, regardless of the source, it should not contain gluten (unless other things are added after distillation).

  12. All i know is.. if i drink anything w/ grain, distilled or not i pay the next day.. NON-Grain, i'm fine! long as i don't get dehydratingly drunk..hehe

  13. WordMD, while that may be true, we have had reactions here from grain vodkas (Grey Goose). Whether its an issue of cross-contamination as I have heard (distilled or bottled in the same facility that processes the grain) or something else, some people are sensitive for some reason.

    This reaction is actually the way I found out Grey Goose was made with wheat! I assumed vodka must certainly be gluten free. Oy.

  14. I wish I woulda saw this article before last night…I drank Stoli Blue and club. I'm paying for it this morning. I realised my allergy a month ago and started the gluten free diet at that time.

  15. Another great Gluten Free vodka is Opulent. Not only is it gluten free, but it's made from American corn, which is a double bonus.

  16. Actually, American corn, whether it be organic or not, is pretty much genetically modified….not so good.

  17. I have had three bad reactions to Ketel One recently, and I have been GF for 4 years. I have tried Ciroc and loved it. No more vodka that is made from grains for me!

  18. I thought perhaps I should let you all know that The Gluten Intolerance Group of North America has certified only ONE distilled spirit as truly Gluten Free. Yes only one !!
    Cayman Blue Vodka from the Dominican Republic, made from Sugar Cane and Distilled 6 times. And there is no compromise on smoothness, flavour or finish. Try it, you will like it. ( oh yes, it is also very reasonably priced )

    1. Thanks Doug – it's cool that you've gotten certified by GIG!
      the G-Free Foodie crew

  19. When the GIG certifies something as gluten free is there any consideration of whether or not the source is a GMO product or not? I am shooting for a gluten free. non GMO diet.

  20. absolute ALWAYS gives me a headache and intestinal pain. vikingfjord does not….neither does red wine
    …..but, oh how I missy ipa!!

  21. I have been gluten free for 6 months. Last night at dinner I had a lovely gluten free meal and two kettle one martinis. This morning while dealing with that old familiar bad celiac stomach I found this site! Guess I'll be sticking with wine like I usually do! Thanks for the info!

  22. I love Ciroc vodka!

    Controversy or not concerning hard alcohol…the brands made with grain still give me gluten symptoms. I stick to non-grain alcohol only. 🙂

    I also just learned that many wineries seal their wine casks with wheat paste. I always wondered why some gave me gluten symptoms and some didn't. I've recently come to the realization that none of the wines made in Germany give me symptoms.
    ~ April

  23. I am gluten free, but I find the gluten free alcohol is very expensive. Almost twice or three times what I pay for vodka. I don't buy the cheap vodka, but I don't want to pay a huge price either.

  24. I stick to Smirnoff it's affordable and made from corn. It's widely available and has never given me a problem. I love very expensive vodkas but I'm afraid to try them!

  25. Tito's vodka is made from corn. I drink a lot of it and am always perfect the next morning. I just had skyy last night and I feel terrible right now. Not worth it.

  26. i just bought a bottle of Grey Goose, but see wheat on the label of ingredients…so, guess i will take it back for refund tomorrow…am i being overly cautious?

    1. It really depends on your preference, Karen. I prefer to drink distilled spirits from GF grains if I can. KC

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