Find out which liqueurs have gluten, if they’re safe for a gluten-free diet, if your favorites are gluten-free, and what brands to look for.
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When it comes to following a gluten-free diet, you may want to know what types of alcohol are safe. While some alcoholic drinks definitely contain gluten, there are plenty of others that don’t.
If you like to drink alcoholic beverages that have liqueurs in them and not straight distilled alcohol, there is a higher chance of encountering gluten. Knowing that, I want to go through some of the most popular liqueurs that people ask about so that you have all the information you need next time you whip up a cocktail.
In this post, we’re going to answer the question of “what liqueurs are gluten-free?” to help you be fully informed next time you order a drink at a restaurant or bar, or make your own drinks at home.
This is part of the Gluten-free Alcohol Series, where we’re going to discuss different types of alcoholic drinks and how they fit into a gluten-free diet.
What’s the difference between a liqueur and a liquor?
A liquor is an alcoholic beverage that is made from grains or other plants, then fermented, and distilled into what we know as a spirit or liquor. The most common types of liquor are: vodka, tequila, whiskey, gin, and rum.
A liqueur is a base spirit, or liquor, that has flavorings and sweeteners added to it to make it more flavorful. Liqueurs tend to have a lower alcohol by volume percentage than liquor.
What are liqueurs made from?
Liqueurs are made from a base alcohol of liquor with sweeteners and flavorings added. These flavorings can come in many different varieties, such as extracts, flavors, and oils to enhance the flavor of the base liquor.
Liqueurs are more flavorful and sweeter than liquors and tend to be used in mixed drinks, as they are more palatable and easier to drink than distilled liquor.
What is gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in most wheat products, and acts as the “glue” that helps to hold wheat, barley, kamut, spelt, farro, durum, bulgur, rye, and semolina together to maintain their shape.
Gluten is naturally occurring, and therefore is impossible to strip away from the grain. If a grain naturally has gluten in it, there’s no way to make that food gluten-free.
Where do you most often find gluten in alcoholic drinks?
Many alcoholic beverages are gluten-free, like distilled vodka, gin, whiskey, bourbon, rum, tequila. Wine, mead and most hard ciders are also gluten-free.
You’re most likely to find gluten in alcoholic drinks that are not distilled, like beer. You’ll also find gluten in alcoholic drinks where flavorings have been added to a drink, like liqueurs or some flavored liquors.
The best way to know if an alcoholic drink has gluten is to do research before you try or buy it. That’s what this post is all about – to help you answer some questions about which liqueurs are safe for a gluten-free diet and which ones you’ll want to avoid.
Which Liqueurs are Gluten-free?
Now that we know what gluten is and where you’re likely to find it in alcoholic drinks, let’s go over some of the popular liqueurs that you’ll find in cocktails at restaurants, bars, or your home bar.
Is Baileys gluten-free?
According to the Gluten Bee, Baileys is considered gluten-free as they don’t use gluten-containing ingredients and they have no knowledge of traces of gluten in their products.
Baileys is gluten-free but does contain dairy, so if you follow a dairy-free diet, you’ll want to steer clear of this or try their Almande flavor, which is dairy-free.
Is amaretto gluten-free?
This almond based liqueur is considered gluten-free, assuming all the flavorings added to it are gluten-free as well. If the base is using a distilled liquor and gluten-free ingredients are added to it, it is safe to enjoy on a gluten-free diet.
Is DiSaronno gluten-free?
Yes, DiSarroni, an almond flavored liqueur, is gluten-free and safe for a gluten-free diet. It is surprisingly also safe for a nut-free diet as it doesn’t contain any nuts at all.
Is Frangelico gluten-free?
Yes, Frangelico, the hazelnut flavored liqueur, is gluten-free and is safe for a gluten-free diet.
Are orange liqueurs gluten-free?
Most orange liqueurs are safe for a gluten-free diet, but be sure to do research on specific brands if the brand you’re using isn’t listed below.
Is Grand Marnier gluten-free?
Yes, this orange flavored liqueur is safe for a gluten-free diet as it contains no gluten or gluten-containing ingredients.
Is Cointreau gluten-free?
Cointreau is commonly used in margaritas and plenty of other popular drinks. Yes, it is safe for a gluten-free diet, as it contains no gluten or gluten-containing ingredients.
Is Triple Sec gluten-free?
Yes, Triple Sec can be enjoyed safely on a gluten-free diet.
Are schnapps gluten-free?
Depending on the brand you use, schnapps may or may not be gluten-free. Since schnapps are liquor with flavorings added after the distillation process, you’ll want to be careful with these. I had a hard time finding the answer to this question, however I did find this website helpful stating that Dekuyper schnapps all look to be gluten free.
Is Vermouth gluten-free?
Vermouth is considered gluten free as it is made with wine and herbs. As with all liqueurs, be diligent about making sure there’s no hidden gluten by doing research on the brand you’re using.
Is grenadine gluten-free?
Although grenadine isn’t really a liqueur, but a syrup used in many mixed drinks, I decided to include it in this list. Grenadine is a fruit syrup that is deep red in color. It is safe to enjoy on a gluten-free diet.
Is Kahlua gluten-free?
According to Kahlua’s website, there are no gluten-containing ingredients in their product. It is generally accepted as safe for a gluten-free diet.
I hope if you’ve been looking for the answers to your specific questions about which liqueurs are gluten-free and which aren’t, that you’ve found some guidance in this post. If there are any specific liqueurs you’d like me to research and add to this post, please share them in the comments.
As always on a gluten-free diet, it’s best to do research before purchasing specific brands. Make sure that you feel comfortable with the brands and ingredients before you make a decision so you can feel good long after you’ve enjoyed that drink.