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Gluten-Free Baking with Beer, Wine, and Liquor

Drink, Bake, and Enjoy Delicious Gluten-Free Recipes

When it comes to gluten-free alcoholic drinks, there are plenty of reasons to celebrate. Most wines and alcohols are gluten-free and gluten-free beer is readily available in many grocery stores. But don’t just sip. Alcoholic beverages can add delicious flavor, texture and depth to gluten-free baked goods, even if you don’t imbibe.

Beer Many craft brewers and some big breweries, like Anheuser-Busch (Redbridge) and MillerCoors (Coors Peak), now offer naturally gluten-free beer. Made without malted barley, they use gluten-free grains like sorghum, rice and millet and brew with care. Some use dedicated gluten-free facilities or they brew in mixed-use space and wash the lines to eliminate cross contact. Some brewers now certify their naturally gluten-free beers as gluten-free through the GFCO (Gluten Free Certification Organization, an independent certifying agency). Look for the GFCO seal on labels.

There’s another category of beer called “gluten-removed” or “gluten-reduced.” Made with barley in traditional brewmaking style, these products are not permitted to carry the gluten-free label in the United States. (Local laws may vary for beers that don’t cross state lines.) Those with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity should avoid these beers, since it’s still unclear whether they’re truly gluten-free enough to be safe.

Wine All wine is gluten-free. Some oak barrels used to age wines are still sealed on the outside with wheat paste in the traditional manner, but the paste doesn’t touch the wine. Even if it did, any transfer of gluten to the wine would be miniscule. These wines test far below FDA’s mandated


Distilled Alcohol Liquors like rum (made from sugar cane), tequila (made from the agave plant) and brandy (distilled wine) are safe for those on a gluten-free diet. Distilled grain alcohols, including vodka, bourbon, whiskey, scotch, brandy, gin and most liqueurs, are also gluten-free, even when made with gluten-containing grains. The distillation process removes all gluten proteins from the end product. Unless the manufacturer adds gluten as a flavoring after distillation, these liquors are, indeed, gluten-free. (The same is true for all vinegars except malt vinegar.)

Check with the manufacturer directly if you’re concerned that gluten may have been added to the flavoring after distillation. Many, like Frangelico, declare on their websites that their formulas are gluten-free.

Distilled alcohol beverages made from gluten-free ingredients like corn or potato provide great options for those with wheat allergy or barley allergy. These products are ideal for those who wish to drink only naturally gluten-free liquor.

Hard Ciders & Malt Beverages

Hard ciders are almost always gluten-free, unless the manufacturer adds malt (made from barley). Many hard ciders now carry a gluten-free label, making them easy to spot.

Malt beverages and wine coolers, on the other hand, are not gluten-free. Most wine coolers are made from malt liquor, not wine. Malt is derived from barley, which contains gluten, and these drinks are not distilled, so gluten remains in each bottle.

Some malted drinks claim to be “gluten-removed.” Use caution when trying them. They’re made with gluten but are processed to reduce the gluten protein. Under current labeling laws, these manufacturers are not allowed to label their libations gluten-free; instead, they must state something like “crafted to remove gluten” and include a qualifying statement that the product may contain gluten.

Always check drink mixers, like Bloody Mary and margarita mixes. They sometimes contain (barley) malt or hydrolyzed wheat proteins.

New spiked seltzer waters are gluten-free. These are light alternatives to beer and wine, containing 6 percent alcohol derived from the fermentation of citrus and sugar.


Photography by Jules Shepard

Gluten-Free Artisan Beer Bread


The aroma of yeasty gluten-free beer bread baking is matched only by the heavenly texture of this warm crusty loaf when it’s fresh from the oven. The flavor of the bread changes depending on the beer you choose—gluten-free ale, IPA, lager, stout, honey beer…so many delicious options! This recipe can be made with egg replacement.

Click here to view full recipe


Photography by Jules Shepard

Gluten-Free Limoncello Pound Cake


Luscious, sweet Italian limoncello is a refreshing summertime liqueur. It’s best sipped when ice cold. Many people keep a bottle in the freezer for an after-dinner libation. Limoncello gives a citrusy punch to this gluten-free pound cake. This recipe can be made with egg replacement.

Click here to view full recipe



Photography by Jules Shepard

Gluten-Free Strawberries in Frangelico


It doesn’t take a lot of time—or even an oven—to make this amazing gluten-free dessert.

Click here to view full recipe

Each serving contains 249 calories, 1g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 2mg sodium, 51g carbohydrate, 5g fiber, 44g sugars, 2g protein, 25Est GL.

Photography by Jules Shepard

Gluten-Free Margarita Cheesecake


This festive dairy-free cheesecake is sure to boost your spirits. Light and not too sweet, it’s the perfect cool finish to a late-summer meal. Slice and serve it cold with a dollop of whipped cream, a scoop of ice cream or a sprinkle of fresh berries. This recipe can be made with egg replacement.

Click here to view full recipe


Down the Hatch!

Naturally Gluten-Free Beer

-Bard’s Tale dedicated GF brewing
-Coors Peak certified GF
-Ghostfish Brew dedicated GF brewing
-Glutenberg dedicated GF brewing
-Groundbreaker Brewing dedicated GF brewing, certified GF
-Holidaily Brewing Co dedicated GF brewing
-New Grist certified GF
-New Planet some beers certified GF, others “gluten-reduced”
-Ramapo Valley Brewery dedicated GF space
-Uinta Free Form Belgian Style Blond Ale certified GF

Naturally Gluten-Free Liquor

-Deep Eddy Vodka
-Rebecca Creek Vodka
-Stoli Gluten Free Vodka
-Tito’s Handmade Vodka

Hard Ciders
-Crispin certified GF
-Samuel Smith’s
-Smith and Forge certified GF

Margarita Mix
-Tres Agaves

-Frey Vineyards organic, biodynamic

Seltzer Water

Associate editor Jules Shepard (jshepard@GlutenFreeAndMore.com, gfJules.com) is author of Free For All Cooking (DaCapo Perseus), The First Year: Celiac Disease and Living Gluten-Free (DaCapo Perseus) and Nearly Normal Coking for Gluten-Free Eating (CreateSpace). Her books are available at GlutenFreeAndMore.com.