Thirsty Thursday: Cocktails for celiacs


No gluten? No problem! This week, I want to give all my fellow 21+ folks with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity a guide to getting tipsy (without the stomach aches). When I got the news I had to go gluten-free, I have to be honest — the idea of getting drunk without Mike’s Hard Lemonade brought a reminiscent tear to my eye. But not to worry, as I have compiled a great list of gluten-free alcoholic beverages to make your life easier. 

First on the list is a great go-to: Truly Iced Tea! This is a classic, convenient, easy-to-find drink that tastes so much like iced tea you may forget there’s any alcohol (so be careful!). Truly comes in any fruity flavor imaginable, including black cherry, passionfruit and lemon — whatever floats your boat. These spiked seltzers are a great alternative to malt-containing, vodka-spiked drinks like Twisted Tea — an unsafe territory for people with celiac. This is a great substitute for any hard lemonade or iced tea, and is definitely two (or more) steps above jungle juice, both in terms of taste and safety. What a win-win! 

Second, for more special occasions: prosecco. Popping open a bottle of prosecco, a cheaper-but-just-as-tasty version of prestigious champagne, is a great way to celebrate a birthday, a graduation or even just this Saturday. In my humble opinion, it is much more delicious than wine, and more likely to be vegan. Mionetto Prosecco is a great option for our vegan and gluten-free readers. As long as you avoid corks to the eye, you can’t go wrong! 

Pictured is a bottle of Prosecco propped up against a beach-y background. Prosecco champagne is great for many special events, especially birthdays and even graduation parties. Photo credits to Sebastian Coman Photography

Last but certainly not least: mojitos. My personal favorite, mojitos are the most ideal gluten-free cocktail I have found yet. I know what you’re thinking — it’s a lot of work to go to Price Chopper, buy extra ingredients and assemble a mojito when you could just grab a Truly off the counter. But I promise the hassle is worth it! Let me show you why the mojito flavor profile will win you over. Its alcoholic base of rum, a liquor distilled from sugar, gives the drink an underlying sweet, molasses taste. Combine this with seltzer, tart lime juice, fresh mint and extra sugar to sweeten it up and voilá! The perfect drink. What’s even better is you can easily spice these up based on the occasion. I made delicious white Christmas mojitos over the holidays, and I have my eye on a Valentine’s Day mojito for this month — a great way to bring your Galentine’s Day party or date night to the next level! 

I’ll end the column with some quick hot tips. If you’re intolerant to gluten, remember to stay away from drinks with malt, barley, rye and wheat, to name a few. Be suspicious of drinks spiked with vodka, with the exception of Tito’s. Perhaps most famously, steer clear of beer at all costs! Beer contains both wheat and barley: a double whammy. Let’s be honest, are we really missing out on much without it? Just grab a much better tasting Truly instead! 

Although it can be discouraging to see “CONTAINS: WHEAT” on all of your formerly-favorite drinks, there are many perfectly acceptable substitutes, so I encourage you to stay optimistic. Whether you avoid gluten or not, these drinks are sure to liven up any night in or night out. Most importantly, the only type of stomach ache you’ll be left with is from a hangover — success! 

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