Is Tequila Gluten Free?

Learn what to look for when shopping for tequila

Tequila in glass next to lime wedges

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

When you're on a gluten-free diet, it's vital to know if the alcohol you drink is also gluten-free. Often, it depends on how and where the beverage is made. Below is more on tequila for a gluten-free diet.

Is Tequila Gluten-Free?

Tequila that is made in the traditional way—entirely from the blue agave plant—is naturally gluten free. However, some cheaper brands of tequila are considered "mixto," meaning they are not entirely made from the blue agave plant. As a result, they might contain gluten. For instance, wheat can be used to produce glucose syrup. While this is unlikely, it is wise to always check the labels for consuming tequila or to look for gluten free tequila brands.

Gluten-Free Tequila Brands

Here's a list of tequilas that are made in the traditional fashion from 100% blue agave, which means that they are gluten free:

  • Agavales Gold
  • Calle 23
  • Casa Noble Anejo
  • Casa Noble Crystal
  • Centenario Plata
  • Don Julio Blanco
  • Don Sergio (1942, Resposado, and Blanco varieties only)
  • El Destilador Blanco
  • El Jimador
  • Espolon
  • Fortaleza Blanca
  • Hornitos Black Barrell
  • Jose Cuervo (Tradicional, Tradicional Silver, Platino, and Reserva de la Familia varieties)
  • Legado Blanco
  • Lunazul Reposado
  • Milagro
  • Olmeca Altos Plata 
  • Siete Leguas
  • Suerte Tequila Blanco
  • Tequila Tapatio
  • Zapopan

The Basics of Tequila-Making

The blue agave plant is a high-sugar plant, and all that sugar goes into making traditional tequila. On the other hand, while "mixto" tequila obtains at least 51% of its sugar from the blue agave, it can get the other 49% from other sources of fructose and glucose.

Whenever there are other sources involved, gluten can sometimes enter the picture—for example, wheat can be used to produce glucose syrup. That said, it's unlikely that a tequila manufacturer would use a gluten ingredient in this process. However, if you want to exercise an abundance of caution, stick with traditional, 100% blue agave tequila. It's more expensive, but it's better to be safe than sorry.

If the tequila bottle does not state "100% agave," then it's mixto.

Mixto tequilas won't be labeled "mixto,"—they'll just say "tequila." There are many more mixto tequila brands on the shelves than there are 100% blue agave tequila brands. Remember, a tequila that's made from 100% agave will advertise that fact prominently. Look for those that do.

Are Tequila Mixers Gluten Free?

There are a variety of ways you can drink tequila, ranging from straight shots (the salt and the lime wedges are gluten free, but you'll need to get gluten-free beer for the chaser) to margaritas. Tequila connoisseurs drink it neat and choose only 100% agave tequilas.

If you drink margaritas, it can be a little trickier to ensure that your drink is gluten free. It's common to use a cheaper, mixto tequila in mixed drinks like margaritas. That means the first thing you'll need to do is make sure the tequila used in your drink is 100% agave.

Traditional margaritas consist of tequila, triple sec, and lime or lemon juice. Triple sec liqueur is distilled from orange peels, and the popular name brands Grand Marnier and Cointreau are gluten free. You also can use non-alcoholic triple sec syrup (Monin triple sec syrup is labeled gluten free).

When you get into margarita mixes and flavored margarita drinks, it can be even harder to assure a gluten-free beverage. There are dozens of possible ingredients ranging from pineapple and coconut to beets and hot sauce. Therefore, you'll need to double-check each ingredient to be certain that your margarita is safe to drink.

Frozen margaritas are even more problematic because they can be made from a mix with mixto tequila added.

It's quite fashionable to have signature margaritas where every bar uses a different recipe. Unless you find a bartender who has an in-depth knowledge of the various places that gluten can hide (or better yet, if you find a bartender who actually follows the gluten-free diet themselves), you may have trouble verifying the gluten-free status of the various drink ingredients. 

A Word From Verywell

Most cheaper tequilas will not contain gluten, even in trace amounts. If you are particularly sensitive to gluten cross-contamination, stick to the higher quality 100% blue agave tequila—those tequila varieties should be completely gluten free. If you're ever in doubt, it's best to avoid the drink entirely.

If tequila's not for you, there are plenty of other types of alcoholic beverages you can enjoy when you are following a gluten-free diet. You'll find some types of gluten-free vodka, wine, beer, rum, and even some whiskey and gin

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