Navigating Gluten Sensitivity and Gin: What You Need to Know

There are many types of food sensitivities. Some are allergic to seafood, some to eggs, and there are people who are allergic to gluten. People who are gluten allergic may not be able to consume many types of food, such as bread, pasta, and cakes. However, what about gin? Is gin gluten free?

Generally, gin is gluten-free. The base alcohol for gin may be made of gluten-containing grains such as wheat or rye. However, the fermentation and distillation process to make gin has separated the gluten from the alcohol. However, if you insist on absolute certainty, there are gluten-free gins made of non-gluten grains.

This article explores if gin is gluten free. Aside from that, we will also look into gin brands that are gluten free. Finally, we discuss if you can test for gluten in any gin you encounter.

What Is Gluten?

Gluten is a type of natural protein found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye, and spelt. Gluten may trigger digestive and allergic issues in people with gluten sensitivity. With rising gluten sensitivity worldwide, gluten-free diets are becoming more and more popular.

Gluten is a type of protein found in grains. It is commonly found in: 

  • Wheat
  • Barley
  • Spelt
  • Rye

Aside from these four grains, many food items that use these grains may also contain gluten. 

Gluten’s main function is to help these grains to hold together and retain elasticity. As a result, gluten is important in food such as bread, pasta, and pastries.

Gluten is generally safe as food and has been eaten by humans for thousands of years. However, some people are sensitive to gluten. For these people, they may get allergic reactions if they consume gluten. 

Some of the common reactions include skin rashes, digestive issues, diarrhea, and joint pain. People with Celiac disease or Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) may be even more susceptible to gluten sensitivity. 

Gluten sensitivity has been rising worldwide, which means more and more people are keen to maintain a gluten-free diet. People who practice a gluten-free diet avoid the four gluten-containing grains and food items that may contain them. They consume alternative grains, such as rice or corn, instead.

Is Gin Gluten Free?

Gin is usually gluten free, provided they are plain gin. This is because the distillation process typically removes the gluten from the base alcohol used to make gin. However, if the gin has flavorings, colors, and other ingredients added after distillation, it may have gluten.

People with gluten sensitivity may find alcoholic beverages a little difficult to tell. Many drinks, such as beer, whisky, or gin, use grains as the base for fermentation. Are they not gluten free?

For gin, most gin is gluten-free. Many gins may use a base alcohol made from grains such as wheat or barley, which contain gluten. However, the gluten was separated from the final product during the fermentation and distillation process. 

On top of that, the botanicals used to infuse flavor into the base alcohol are also gluten-free. This means that the base alcohol remains gluten free, even after it has been turned into gin. 

However, you may want to be cautious if the gin is flavored or has additional ingredients, such as coloring, added during dilution. This is because these additions may contain gluten.

If you prefer to be safe, stay with plain gin. Plain gin should be clear in color and does not have anything floating in it. These include London Dry Gin, Dry Gin, Plymouth Gin, Old Tom Gin, and more. 

What Gins Are Gluten-Free?

Some gin makers openly claim their gin is gluten-free, which you can use as guidance. These include Hendricks, Sing Gin, and Monololowa.

You can also check the ingredients used to make its base alcohol. If it uses non-gluten ingredients, then you can also confirm that it is gluten free.

In general, you can assume that plain gins are gluten free. This is because the gluten has been separated from the grain during the distillation process. The concept is similar to many other spirits, such as whisky, rum, or vodka.

This means many mainstream, popular gins are gluten free. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Bombay Sapphire
  • Gordon’s
  • Beefeater
  • Tanqueray
  • Seagrams

However, if you insist on being sure, you can start by looking on the websites of these gin makers to see if they claim to be gluten-free. Gin makers such as Hendricks and Sing gin claim to be gluten-free, which should give you peace of mind.

You can also check the ingredients used to make its base alcohol. Some may use ingredients such as potatoes and grapes to make the base alcohol, so these would also be gluten-free.

Can We Test If A Gin Has Gluten?

If you are unsure of a gin’s gluten-free status, you can use gluten food testing to determine if the gin contains gluten. These gluten test kits are commonly quick and easy to use and are usually available in pharmacies and online. 

Suppose you prefer to stay very clear from gluten and want absolute certainty. Perhaps you just picked up some flavored gin with colorings and additional things floating inside. You think it may be a good idea to test for gluten in the gin. 

Fortunately, you do not have to send the food item to the lab and wait days to confirm if your gin has gluten. You only need a gluten test kit to see if the gin contains gluten.

Test kits such as those from EZ Gluten are easy to use. You take out a small bit of gin and add it with the test fluid into a test tube. You then use a gluten testing strip to test for gluten.

In only a minute or two, you can quickly tell if the gin you are interested in drinking has gluten or not. 

Aside from EZ gluten, many other gluten test kits are also available in the market. You can find them at your local pharmacy or in online marketplaces.

Final Thoughts

While gin is typically considered gluten-free due to the process of fermentation and distillation removing gluten from the alcohol, it is important to note that the base alcohol for gin may be made from gluten-containing grains.

For those who have a gluten sensitivity or intolerance, there are gluten-free gin options available that are made from non-gluten grains. It’s always a good idea to check with the manufacturer or do some research to ensure that the gin you are consuming is safe for you.

With this knowledge, you can confidently enjoy a refreshing gin cocktail without worrying about gluten.

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