Is Gin Safe for People Who Are Gluten-Free?


Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Although most experts say gin, which typically is made from a mix of grains that can include wheat, barley, and rye, is gluten-free because it's distilled, many people with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity nonetheless react to gin. Here's the lowdown on gin and how it might fit into your gluten-free diet.

Is Gin Gluten-Free?

Gin is gluten-free due to the distillation process used on the gluten-containing grains that make it. The idea is that even if the alcohol starts out as a mixture of gluten grains, distillation should remove the harmful proteins that cause reactions in celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. Distillation actually vaporizes the pure alcohol, separating it from the non-alcoholic components of the grain mixture used to make that particular type of spirit. Most—but not all—experts say distilled spirits made with gluten grains should be safe on the gluten-free diet.

Celiac Awareness Campaign

The National Institutes of Health, as part of its Celiac Awareness Campaign, declares that gin and other alcoholic beverages distilled from gluten grains are safe for those on the gluten-free diet since distillation removes enough of the gluten protein to render the drink gluten-free, at least to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration's legal 20 parts per million standard.

Gin Not Made From Gluten Grains

If you react to conventional gin, you may want to try a gin that's made from something other than gluten grains. Here are several you can choose:

  • G-Vine Gin Products: These products are made from vine blossoms, grape brandy, and 10 aromatic spices and herbs.
  • Maine Distilleries' Cold River Gin: This is made from potatoes grown right on the distillers' farm. This gin, which is billed as "gluten-free," also uses pure water from Maine's Cold River. It's available in some states and in the United Kingdom.
  • Monololowa Dry Gin: This is made with potatoes in Austria using a traditional Polish recipe.
  • Schramm Organic Gin: This is distilled in British Columbia using organic potatoes.

Why Do People React to Gin?

As we discussed above, distilled liquor—including gin—is considered by many experts to be gluten-free. But despite this, many people with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity still report reactions to distilled spirits made from gluten grains.

So why the disconnect between expert opinion and actual "on the ground" experience? That's not clear, but there are several possible reasons.

First, distillation may not remove every last bit of gluten, even if it removes enough so that the product meets the standard of less than 20 parts per million. Distillation typically is repeated multiple times to remove "impurities" from the final product, but it's possible that in some cases, it doesn't remove all those "impurities."

Second, it's possible that smaller fragments of the gluten protein could remain in the final product, even after distillation. Gluten is a large molecule that can be broken down into smaller molecules, but there isn't much research to show whether people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity might react to those smaller pieces of gluten.

Third, gin and other spirits made from gluten grains unquestionably are made in facilities and on equipment that process gluten grains. So it's entirely possible that some gluten cross-contamination creeps in after distillation, as the flavorings typically used in gin are added.

A Word From Verywell

So if you crave a gin martini, how should you proceed? Move cautiously, especially if you're newly diagnosed and still getting the hang of the diet. You may find that you can consume gin without issue. But watch out for symptoms, such as a hangover that seems way out of proportion to the amount of alcohol you consumed.

Remember that it's very common to have bad reactions to gluten-containing foods and drinks once you've gone gluten-free, so don't be surprised if that gin martini you used to enjoy without issue now makes you sick as a dog.

If you find you're reacting badly to gin but you still want that gin and tonic, look for one of the brands of gin listed above that's made with gluten-free ingredients. Alternatively, you may want to consider switching to potato vodka, rum, wine or gluten-free beer, none of which use gluten grains as ingredients.

7 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Beyond Celiac. Is gin gluten-free?

  2. National Celiac Association. Frequently asked questions about alcohol on the gluten-free diet.

  3. National Celiac Association. Is alcohol made from grain safe for people with celiac disease?

  4. Celiac Disease Foundation. Gluten-free 101: What you need to know.

  5. Gluten Intolerance Group. Does fermentation or distillation make a product gluten-free?

  6. Does distillation remove all gluten?

  7. Gluten-Free Living. Tips to recover from gluten exposure.

Additional Reading

By Jane Anderson
Jane Anderson is a medical journalist and an expert in celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, and the gluten-free diet.