are they gluten free?
Thanks to months of label gazing, I can now intuitively detect gluten in most food products. My inner dial still fails me, though, when it comes to drinks – both the boozy and non-boozy varieties.
Modern day sage, Google, has saved me yet again with some guidance on the topic. The main rule of thumb is to avoid barley-based drinks, malted drinks and beer.
Following is a more detailed snapshot.
Cordials and juices
Usually gluten free but watch out for barley-based drinks
Pure cocoa (and milk of course) is okay but drinking chocolate may contain wheat. Watch out for malt extract and malt flavour which is made from barley (as in Ovaltine). Some people can handle small quantities of malt.
These are mostly gluten free but lemonade and ginger beer may use a wheat-based ingredient to get a cloudy appearance so check. Some drinks like cola may use caramel colour which may be gluten-based depending on how it is made.
Tea and coffee
Black, green and herbal teas are okay as is coffee but decaffeinated versions and substitutes are sometimes wheat-based
Beer usually has some gluten in it. Look for gluten free varieties.
Wine is generally gluten free but I did read that some makers use hydrolysed wheat gluten as a clarifying agent though the quantities are considered too small to count.
There is also potential for cross contamination in barrel storage with some sealed using a flour paste. This tends to only apply to more expensive wines.
Wine coolers on the other hand are not gluten free as they contain malt.
Spirits are usually made from gluten-containing grains (malt whisky for example) but because the proteins are removed in the distilling process they are considered gluten free – unless gluten-based additives such as caramel colours are used after distilling.
Cider, sherry, port and liqueurs are generally classed as gluten free unless caramel colour is used. Cocktails obviously come with risks.