With a rise in health awareness in modern times, it’s no wonder people are curious about what is and isn’t gluten-free (regardless of whether they are celiac, sensitive, or just making better health decisions for themselves).
It’s always important to know what you can drink (without anxiety) and what you should avoid.
Beer, of course, is off-limits to gluten-intolerant people. But what about spirits like Tequila and Mezcal?
Is Tequila gluten-free?
Tequila is made by fermenting and distilling a cactus called agave. Agave nectar is a gluten-free product and it contains no known allergens as well! This means that any 100% pure agave beverage will be safe for people trying to avoid gluten
What about Tequila Mixtos?
Tequila mixtos refer to those (usually) cheaper tequilas that add sugar instead of using 100% pure agave, to save on cost. Tequila mixtos can be up to 49% sugar (or 51% agave). Fortunately, sugar is also a gluten-free product.
Furthermore, since it’s distilled, any of the gluten protein is left behind in the still, and none can make it to the finished bottle of tequila
Tequila is safe for those with Celiac Disease, according to the Celiac Disease Foundation.
However, this is only true for pure tequila. Flavored tequila has added ingredients that vary by manufacturer. If these contain gluten or have been prepared in a facility that also processes gluten-containing products, then you make be in trouble.
Our advice: avoid flavored tequila or mezcal if you’re not sure how it was made, or what the ingredients are as these may have gluten.
Does tequila contain sugar?
Tequila, gin, vodka, whiskey, and even rum are all 100% distilled spirits and do not include any sugars. When it comes to spirits, it’s more about what they’re blended with. It will only contain a certain amount of sugar once it is flavored and mixed with other drinks.
One thing to watch out for is flavored tequila products as these are often sweetened after distillation with a small about of table sugar. An example of this is Patron XO (Cafe Tequila). This is full of sugar!
Does tequila contain dairy?
No, fortunately, all tequilas and mezcals are made from either 100% agave or an agave/sugar blend. This means all the fermentables come from plant-based sources!
Again, watch out for flavored tequilas as these have all sorts of things added in.
Liqueurs such as the 1921 Tequila Cream is made by blending tequila with cream so obviously contains a large amount of dairy.
Is tequila vegan?
Many alcoholic drinks use animal-derived products in their production. This is particularly true for the filtering process of wine and beer as the proteins help clear up the liquid in a process called ‘fininng’.
Some of these include:
- Gelatin – from animal cartilage
- Isinglass Finings – a type of gelatin from fish.
- Albumin – from eggs
- Casein – from milk
- Carmine – from beetles
- Chitin – from shellfish
Fortunately, all straight tequila and mezcals are 100% vegan, as to make tequila you only need agiave/sugar and to age it in wood barrels.
Some flavored tequilas and tequila liqueurs are not vegan, such as the Patron XO Cafe Liquer mentioned above as this contains dairy cream.
What about Tequila that has a worm in the bottle?
Ok, first of all, tequila doesn’t contain works or any other creepy crawlies.
Some bottles of mezcal have a worm (which isn’t actually a worm but we’ll get to that later). This started in the 1950s after one of the mescal distillers discovered a grub in a bottle by accident and decided it actually impved the flavor of the drink.
Whether or not this was true, or just a great marketing ploy, it took off and some other manufactures started doing the same.
The bug is’nt actually a worm, but the larvae of a moth that hatches on the agave plant. It’s perfectly safe to eat, and supposedly tastes like chicken!
And.. in case you’re wondering, no it does not make you hallucinate!
But is it vegan? That’s for you to decide. The vegan community seems split on whether or not it’s ok to eat insects – so we’ll let you figure out where you stand on this issue.
Regardless if you are gluten intolerant, vegan, or trying to manage any other dietary requirements, tequila and mezcal is generally a safe bet when deciding what to drink.
Tequila does not contain gluten, and It is very rare for gin to contain dairy or other non-vegan products.
Remember that having adverse responses to gluten-containing foods and drinks is fairly typical after going gluten-free, so don’t be shocked if that gin you often used to adore makes you sick suddenly.
Also, don’t forget to read the labels properly to check for the ingredients used in the tequila that you take to make sure that it is in conjunction with your diet and preference.