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VINDICATION! In May, the DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, decided that if an alcoholic beverage is made from a glutenous grain, that it cannot be labelled gluten-free if it is sold out-of-state. Specifically, the policy says that an alcoholic beverage cannot be labelled gluten free under the following conditions.
- An ingredient that is a prohibited grain (wheat, barley, rye, or crossbred hybrids of those grains);
- An ingredient that is derived from a prohibited grain and that has not been processed to remove gluten;
- An ingredient that is derived from a prohibited grain and that has been processed to remove gluten if use of that ingredient results in the presence of 20 ppm or more gluten in the food; or
- 20 ppm or more gluten.
Ever since I became aware that I was gluten intolerant, I have looked for the hidden gluten in things. Of course, in the beginning I was getting glutenated every time I turned around. One night, almost two years ago, I had had a vodka and juice and suddenly I was having a gluten attack. I remember thinking “what could be causing this? I’m been good and haven’t had gluten.” As I was doubled over, walking toward my bedroom, the thought occurred to me “wonder what vodka is made out of?”
Instead of going to bed I began googling alcohol and gluten. I discovered that most vodka today is made from grain. Even some of the gluten-free alcohol lists have erroneous information on them (in my opinion). Much of the information says that the fermenting /distillation process gets rid of the grain. Anyone who has ever done a science experiment knows that not every science experiment works 100% of the time. I remember having a six-pack of beer and some bottles out of the same six-pack bothered me and some didn’t. So my hard and fast rule has been that if it was made from a gluten grain, it was off-limits for me. Sadly, I poured that bottle of Grey Goose down the sink.
What is safe? There are some things that are readily safe. Here is my list, but it is far from complete. You may have to google some things yourself.
- Sparkling wine
- Vodka – potato only
Now let’s look at liqueurs.
- Amer Picon
- Blackberry Liqueur
- Carolans Irish Cream
- Grand Marnier
- Patron XO Cafe
- Pimento Dram
- St. Germaine
- Tequila Rose
- Triple Sec
- Ty Ku
I would say that my list conforms with that of the FDA and the DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. I looked at all of the GF lists online, and then I deleted about half the alcoholic beverages on them. So many people are still under the misconception that all of the alcohol turns and is therefore safe. Many of the lists include all types of beverages that when the ingredients are examined, contain obvious flaws. I personally would rather err on the side of caution. Grey Goose be damned; I want no accidental glutenation at all. I also did not include beers, since there are many beets that advertise themselves as GF. I felt that finding which beers are GF was a fairly easy thing to do; finding out which alcohol is GF is not so easy.
There are many things that I did not include. For example, I did not include Creme de Menthe or Amaretto. Those particular liqueurs use grain non-specific grain alcohol, and therefore, I could not advocate drinking them. I do have a recipes for homemade liqueurs. Write me or just keep an eye on my blog.