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Gluten-free foods and beverages are becoming a common site on grocery shelves. Some people opt for these products simply to improve their diet. Others must consume only gluten-free products due to a medical condition such as being allergic to gluten (often referred to as Celiac Disease).
I first became introduced to the world of gluten-free products when an immediate family member was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. I’ve since spent considerable time investigating alcoholic alternatives for those that can’t have gluten. There are are plenty of choices: liquor, wine, gluten-free beer, hard cider and mead. This section will be listing the products I’ve come across in each of these categories, and what I recommend you look for when seeking gluten-free alcoholic alternatives. If you have additional suggestions or beverages to recommend, please share it in the comments below!
What Exactly Is Gluten?
The word “gluten” originates from the Latin word gluten (“glue”) and it is a composite formed from several different proteins. It is most commonly found in foods processed from wheat and related grains such as rye and barley. Gluten is used in a wide variety of foods (you’d be surprised how prevalent it is) and it is used primarily to enhance flavor and to bind or thicken ingredients. People that have gluten intolerance often find it challenging to find alternative foods to supplement their diet. Even items you would not expect to contain gluten often do, such as soups, sauces, marinades and even salad dressings. Anything containing wheat flour (which includes most processed foods such as pasta, baked goods, and bread) will contain gluten, and therefore be off-limits to someone on a gluten-free diet.