Allergy awareness is on the rise these days, but when it comes to cocktails, it can be like navigating through a gluten minefield. Hidden gluten is everywhere, from the extra added ingredients to the alcohol itself and for those with Coeliac disease or a gluten intolerance, finding a gluten-free cocktail can be a challenge.
Gluten is a protein molecule found in grains such as wheat, rye and barley. It's used as a binding agent which is why if you've ever had gluten-free bread, you will know it falls apart the second you pick it up. What many people don't realise is that gluten can be found in many alcoholic drinks. Although spirits like vodka and gin made from wheat are said to be gluten-free due to the distillation process, those with severe allergies can still experience a reaction.
Vodka and gin are made by distilling a neutral grain spirit. Coeliac UK states that this process is supposed to remove any trace of gluten from these spirits, essentially making them gluten-free. Experts believe that the reason why some people still react to grain-based spirits is because the immune systems of those with an intolerance can still detect partial gluten proteins left over after distillation. Whether that’s from impurities at the distillery or the barrels, it’s hard to tell.
This can be a hard pill to swallow for gluten-sensitive cocktail lovers, however, there are some alternatives so you can still enjoy your favourite drinks. Potato vodka is growing in its popularity as it’s a healthier, tastier alternative to grain-based vodka. As well as being completely gluten-free, the low amount of carbohydrates and sugar makes potato vodka a great spirit to use in cocktails. However, potato vodka is harder to find in pubs and bars as it is more expensive, so, we’ve come up with some fail-safe drinks even the highly sensitive can enjoy:
Born in Cuba, the Mojito is a global superstar and one of the favourites for the summer season. Fresh mint paired with the sweetness of white rum creates a medley of contrasting flavours that come together to make the perfect cocktail. Rum is a safe bet when it comes to gluten as it's derived from sugar cane so even the most sensitive can enjoy this one. With endless variations, the mojito is a great one to try at home. Just garnish with a sprig of mint and feel those Caribbean vibes!
For the perfect Mojito:
· Muddle 6 mint leaves (be careful not to muddle them too aggressively)
· 50ml Havana Club white rum
· 20ml lime juice
· 20ml sugar syrup
· Sprig of fresh mint (slap the sprig over the back of your hand to release the aroma)
2. Pineapple Express
One of our own creations, this cocktail has to be in our top 3, gluten-free or not! This cocktail combines tangy pineapple with sweet coconut rum and our house tequila to create a drink that transports you straight to a tropical paradise. A squeeze of lemon juice gives a citrusy kick to add a refreshing twist to this fruity cocktail. Like summer in a glass, this one is not to be missed.
To try it yourself:
· 37.5ml Tequila Blanco
· 12.5ml Kalani Coconut Liqueur (https://www.masterofmalt.com)
· 1 bar spoon Suze
· 20ml pineapple juice (never from concentrate)
· 5-10ml sugar syrup
Garnish with a fresh pineapple slice
The margarita has become a staple cocktail due its iconic glass and boozy impact. The sweet yet bitter orange notes from the Cointreau mixed with our house tequila is a match made in heaven. Add a splash of freshly squeezed lime juice and you're on your way to creating the perfect margarita. Famously served with a salted-rim glass, this gluten-free cocktail is perfect for any party and as a favourite of Matthew McConaughey, it's definitely 'alright, alright alright'.
For the perfect serve:
· 37.5ml El Sueno tequila (https://www.elsuenotequila.com)
· 12.5ml Cointreau
· 25ml lime juice
· 15ml sugar syrup
Garnish with a lime wheel and a salted rim.
Top tip: A water tumbler suits this drink down to the ground.
4. Strawberry Daiquiri
This one’s for those with a sweet tooth. The Strawberry Daiquiri has grown to become a quintessential summer cocktail. Combining Havana Club white rum and our homemade strawberry puree, this drink evokes the summer vacation we're all dreaming of. If done right, sweet notes from the puree perfectly balance the zesty lime juice and both perfectly compliment the Havana Club. As with the Mojito, all Daiquiris are completely gluten-free making them an ideal choice for Coeliac’s.
For the perfect Strawberry Daiquiri:
· 37.5ml Funkin Strawberry Puree (www.funkincocktails.co.uk)
· 40ml Havana Club white rum
· 10ml lime juice
· 12.5ml Triple sec
· 10ml sugar syrup
Take a look at our new summer menu over on our website www.thedrunkenjockeys.co.uk/cocktail-service for more great cocktails.