Vodka originated in Russia and Poland, and its name comes from the Slavic word “voda,” which means “water.” The earliest written record of vodka production in Russia dates back to the 9th century.
Is vodka gluten free?
This popular beverage is now consumed all over the world. However, people on a gluten-free diet often wonder if vodka is gluten-free. Here is an insightful look into whether vodka is truly gluten-free.
The short answer is yes, vodka is gluten-free. This is because vodka is a distilled beverage, and the distillation process removes any impurities, including gluten proteins. Thus, pure distilled vodka is gluten-free.
However, some brands of vodka are made from wheat or rye grain, so it is important to check the label before purchasing if you are on a gluten-free diet.
How is vodka made?
Vodka is a clear, distilled alcoholic beverage made from water and ethanol.
It is typically made from sorghum, corn, rye, wheat, rice, or potatoes. However, it can also be made from other starchy sugary plants such as beetroots or sugar cane.
Given below are the step by which vodka is made:
Vodka is typically made from either grains or potatoes. These grains are sprouted/potatoes are cooked. This transforms their starch into sugars. The next day this fermentable base is mixed with water and yeast. It is then heated and stirred.
The fermentation process takes place in a stainless steel vat. In about one to two weeks, the mixture ferments fully. This is when the compounds break down to produce natural alcohol-ethanol or ethyl alcohol.
The vodka makers then strain and filter the mixture to remove any impurities and use the alcohol to make vodka.
The next step is distillation. This is a process in which the alcohol is heated to evaporate and then cooled so that it condenses back into liquid form. This step is repeated several times to produce pure alcohol.
After distillation, the vodka is then sorted into different categories. When the ethanol distills, the first 35% is highly toxic, which the distillers usually discard. The following 30% is known as the “hearts,” the most important product. The remaining 35% are known as the “tails,” which are impure. However, they are redistilled to extract a little more product.
The distilled product is passed through the filtration system to ensure the final product is clean and free of any impurities. The most common type of filtration is charcoal Science Direct: Vodka filtering which gives the vodka its neutral taste.
This distilled product is then diluted with water as per the desired alcohol content and bottled.
Gluten-free vodka brands
Distilled liquors, Beyond Celiac: Is Liquor Gluten-Free? even if they are made from wheat, barley, or rye, are considered gluten-free. However, for distilled spirits like vodka, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau TTB and FDA require gluten content to be less than 20 ppm Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trad: Gluten Content Statements in the Labeling and Advertising of Wine, Distilled Spirits, and Malt Beverages for it to be labeled gluten-free.
Thus most vodkas are gluten-free. However, some vodka brands are made explicitly from ingredients apart from wheat, barley, or rye.
1. Tito’s handmade vodka
Tito’s handmade vodka is prepared using corn, which is gluten-free. It is certified by the gluten intolerance group (GIG) and is a safe choice for people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.
2. Ciroc ultra-premium vodka
It is a popular vodka brand that is made using French grapes. Its seasonal varieties are also made using watermelon. Thus making the vodka gluten-free.
3. Smirnoff vodka
Smirnoff is distilled from corn, making it safe for those with gluten sensitivity.
4. Crystal head vodka
Crystal head Vodka is grain-based but does not include any gluten grains. The alcohol is distilled in Newfoundland from peaches and cream corn.
5. Cold river vodka
Cold River vodka comes in a few flavors. One is the original potato, and the other is blueberry. Both the ingredients are gluten-free and safe for people with gluten sensitivity.
6. Deep eddy vodka
Located in Austin, Texas, this vodka is distilled from corn which is gluten-free.
7. Grand teton vodka
This vodka is made from Idaho potatoes in the Grand Teton foothills. Thus, it is gluten-free and safe doe celiacs.
8. Iceberg vodka
The Iceberg vodka is a gluten-free Canadian vodka made from cream corn.
9. Kissui vodka
The Japanese-made Kissui vodka is distilled from rice and natural spring water. “Kissui” can be translated to mean “pure” or “made from one ingredient.”
Is gluten-free vodka safe for celiacs?
Yes, gluten-free vodka is safe for celiacs. This is primarily because the distillation process used to make vodka removes gluten proteins, and several vodkas are prepared using gluten-free grains.
However, it is always important to check the label before purchasing to be sure of the ingredients and that the brand of vodka you are buying is truly gluten-free.
The purest form of vodka is gluten-free. However, in rare instances, gluten-containing flavors can be added to vodka. If you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, it is best to purchase vodkas that are labeled gluten-free or vodkas that are prepared without any gluten grains. Refer to the list of vodkas above to make an informed decision.