Alcohol is a tricky thing to figure out as a new Celiac. Most people who are going gluten free for the first time assume that they cannot have rye whisky, gin, vodka or scotch whiskey because they are all made from grains such as barley, rye and wheat. Of course it is good to be on the safe side and assume such things, but you may be pleasantly surprised to find out that you can actually have all of those types of alcohol. According to the Canadian Celiac Association tests have proven that the distillation process used in making both alcohol and vinegar (except malted vinegar) removes all of the gluten proteins (prolamin) from the beverage. As a result hard alcohol is back on the menu for some! Wines are also safe, however traditional beer is not as it is not distilled and therefore the gluten proteins are not removed. So no beer, but a lot of options do remain.
Just remember to keep an eye on those mixed drinks that are out there. Caesars’ are a very popular drink in Canada that is almost unheard of elsewhere. It’s a spicy tomato based drink and is quite delicious. However, it uses Worcestershire sauce that has wheat in it (in Canada) and sometimes the pickled vegetables that accompany the drink may not be safe either. I learned that one the hard way.
Some liquors may also contain wheat, but because the industry isn’t really sure on whether or not the distillation process removes prolamins’, they may say that a product is unsafe when it really is. For instance if you try to find out if Bailey’s is okay to drink you will find many people saying that it isn’t and then one letter out there saying that they thought they weren’t safe but have since realized it is gluten free. I’m quite sensitive when it comes to gluten and haven’t had any troubles with Bailey’s but I actually prefer Amarula that is cheaper and made from the Marula fruit in South Africa. However, always trust your gut and check with the manufacturer in case they change their recipe. Some Celiac’s are more sensitive than others and may not be able to tolerate what the general Celiac population can.
In fact, even though wine is technically okay for us I’ve noticed that I get quite stuffed up when I drink it. My reaction to it has been getting progressively worse. I am guessing I’ve developed an allergy to Sulphites, which wouldn’t be unheard of considering my background of sensitivities. Since wine is off the menu and so is beer I was trying to find a new drink to consume. I found it the other day at Hecklers Bar and Grill in Victoria. The drink is called Blueberry Yum Yum and is exactly that. Yum, yum! It just has a nice aftertaste of blueberry without being overpowering or sickly sweet. It is perfect and so simple to make. Try it out the next time you are looking for a signature drink!
Blueberry Yum Yum
1 can of Strongbow cider
1 oz or shot glass of Blueberry Vodka
Mix and serve cold!