Is Vodka Gluten-Free?
In an age of heightened awareness toward food sensitivities, and what we put into our bodies generally, more people are asking questions about the foods and drinks they consume. That’s a good thing, as it keeps manufacturers honest and consumers safe. But it has also opened up an entirely new marketing channel, as those same manufacturers—from cereal magnates to gourmet retailers to liquor brands—have used this opportunity to target people with certain dietary restrictions. Some restrictions due to legitimate health reasons, and others due to lifestyle choices.
The result: labels touting everything from gluten-free alcohol to grass-fed beef and non-GMO vegetables. Overall, more transparency is a good thing, especially when it comes to our food and drink. But about that first one…
Is vodka gluten-free? Is whiskey? How about gin? The short answer to all of these questions is “yes.” But there’s more to it.
In many cases, spirits are distilled from potatoes, corn, agave, sugar cane and grapes, foods that do not contain gluten. So whenever imbibing a distilled liquor derived from such ingredients—regardless of what the label does or does not state—you can rest assured that you’re not consuming any gluten. Well, that’s provided that the company isn’t incorporating any gluten-laced flavors or additives before bottling—a rare practice.
What if its from Wheat, Barley, or Rye?
But is vodka gluten-free if it’s distilled from wheat, barley or rye? These grains absolutely contain gluten, a scourge to those suffering from celiac disease and other select digestive disorders. The question here isn’t whether the raw ingredients contain gluten, but whether the gluten from the grain carries over into the distillation process.
Conventional thinking—from scientists, mind you—is that distilled alcohol does not contain gluten because gluten peptides, which are amino acid-containing molecules, are too large to survive the distillation process and be carried over into the final product. Distillation turns the fermented, liquid-y grain mash into vapor, which travels through the still, where it’s cooled and condensed into ethanol. At no point do those gluten peptides join in the party—instead they’re left in the mash—so gluten won’t be present in the final product. At least, not enough to matter.
Technically, any product containing less than 20 parts per million of gluten can be labeled “gluten-free.” In this range, products should be safe for those with celiac disease and gluten sensitivities. Of course, everyone is different, and some people with severe cases of celiac disease have reported feeling ill effects after drinking spirits, though it’s rare.
Here’s a quote from the Celiac Disease Foundation, an organization that knows a thing or two about gluten and its effects.
“Alcoholic beverages, including wines and hard liquor/distilled liquors/hard ciders are gluten-free.” Source.
This organization takes gluten seriously, and doesn’t want to steer anyone with celiac disease toward an unpleasant experience. So their vote of confidence is worth noting.
So What’s The Deal?
And yet, despite the fact that alcohol is, indeed, gluten-free, you can still find splashy labels on liquor bottles touting gluten-free alcohol. It smacks of a marketing gimmick—a “me-too” mentality that capitalizes on this trend and values buzz words over candor.
The first liquor brand to receive the go-ahead from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) to put “gluten-free” on its label was a potato-based vodka out of Idaho. This was back in 2013. Potatoes don’t and never did contain gluten. The company said this initiative was a proactive means of ensuring the increasingly gluten-aware population could be assured they were drinking a gluten-free product. Whatever the case, it started a trend, and today, dozens of spirits across several categories now tout their products as being free from pesky gluten.
So, to recap the question at top: is vodka gluten-free? Yes, and so is every other spirit, including grain-based whiskeys and gins, agave spirits like tequila and mezcal, fruit-based brandies and sugar cane-derived rum. If you see the words “gluten-free” on a spirits label, the product isn’t special—it’s simply following the same general production process of every other distilled spirit. The label isn’t a marker of quality, or even one of uniqueness. It’s just a marketing choice employed by a company in a climate where some people make buying decisions based on such labels.
A distilled spirit brand that opts to exclude this label is not selling products with discernibly higher levels of gluten. They simply chose not to announce what’s always been—the fact that alcohol is gluten-free.
Location, price, distilling prowess, heck—even a bottle’s artwork—are all legitimate reasons to pick up a bottle of vodka at the store. But choosing said vodka based on a disingenuous label… well, that one’s hard to support.
Our Glass Vodkas are all distilled from (gluten free!) grapes that are harvested from the rich soils of the Pacific Northwest, which is home to some of the world’s top wineries. The terroir you’ll find in the grapes and soil imparts nuanced flavors and characteristics into the vodka that leads to a light, floral nose, a silky mid-palate and a cool, clean finish.
For more on our award-winning Seattle-based vodka, check out the full lineup, from the flagship sipping vodka to flavored varieties infused with ingredients including cold brew coffee, Ceylon cinnamon and honey.
We are so proud Glass Vodka is featured in many of our home state’s finest establishments. Please make a reservation at any (or all!) of these creatively impressive restaurants. Not only will you experience the best cuisine Washington has to offer, but you can order up a cocktail of your favorite Connoisseur Class spirit in the following locations. We thank you for being part of the Glass Vodka family!
Deadline / Seattle
Front Street Grill / Coupeville
Monsoon / Bellevue
T. Maccarone’s / Wallla Walla
Fiction @ J. Bookwalter / Richland
Place Pigalle / Seattle
Prime Steakhouse / Redmond
Stay tuned here for updates on where you can enjoy Glass Vodka in Washington State!
One of our favorite customers in Dallas, popular chef and restaurateur Janice Provost of Parigi Restaurant located in the hot/hip Uptown area returned to the James Beard House June 26th to a sold out dinner met with raves and applause!
Her “American in Paris” dinner featured cuisine from her Parigi Restaurant’s French Bistro with a little bit of Italian and American thrown in. Janice asked Glass Vodka to join her for the night and our founder, Ian MacNeil was mixing cocktails and introducing our Connoisseur Class Spirits to the lucky guests. A great time was had by all!
Be the first to experience Glass Vodka’s limited edition release Selkirk.
Rested in a charred oak barrel for over a year, Selkirk presents a taste profile of vanilla, caramel and oak with the finesse of Glass Vodka. This is a very limited release, only 1000 bottles have been produced and will only be sold at the Glass Vodka Boutique in Seattle, WA. All bottles are hand numbered and signed by Ian MacNeil, our founder.
The name and our coat of arms on the bottle, pays homage to Ian’s homeland of Scotland and his beloved Labrador, Selkirk.
Come visit us and be one of the first to indulge in this new experience.
More news from Michigan! We are so proud Glass Vodka is featured in many of the state’s finest establishments. Plan a trip to experience our Connoisseur Class spirits in the following locations. We thank you for being part of the Glass Vodka family.
Ann Arbor Chop House / Ann Arbor
La Lanterna / Detroit
2 FOG’s Pub / Howell
Morton’s Steakhouse / Troy
The Union Cabaret and Grille / Kalamazoo
Chandler’s / Petoskey
We will showcase many more in the coming months, stay tuned. Even though we are based in Seattle, WA, Glass Vodka is “Pure Michigan!”
As you walk into the posh new wine cellar in the newly remodeled Fred Meyer in Bellevue, WA, you might think you are walking into an art gallery. Front and center in the new wood lined space you are surprised to encounter the dramatic art piece, Escape Velocity by Harry Pollitt. This one-of-a-kind experience is shown in partnership exclusively with the Traver Glallery in Seattle. Surrounding the piece, also exclusively, is another art form, the elegant and exquisite Glass Vodka. From the crystal bottle who’s very form was inspired by the Glass Art Movement to what’s inside, the clean, modern spirit conceived from an artist’s passion. Stop in, take a break and drink in the culture in the room.
If you missed Glass Vodka at this year’s Susan G. Komen’s Grace Notes Gala “A Night at the Races,” you are going to have to make plans now for next year’s soiree.
One of the most fun items that raises a ton of money is the Martini Table Service by none other than our Founder, Ian MacNeil. He comes to your table and personally mixes up a batch of Glass Vodka cocktails for you and all of your guests during the auction. This year the item went for $16,000! And the Glass Vodka dinner party for 10 people at the distillery went for $4500. This is a very worthy event that benefits our Seattle community and we are very honored to be a part of it.
Glass Vodka is pleased to kick off a new recycling program that’s pretty tasty. Bring your empty Glass Vodka bottles to the Vodka Boutique and receive $5 off a purchase of another bottle of our Connoisseur-Class® spirit. Recycling feels good and tastes exceptional! Everyday… here at Glass Vodka.
Glass Vodka is proud to be a part of Arcade Lights at the Pike Place Market in Seattle. Arcade Lights is an artisan food, craft beer, cider and cocktail tasting event that benefits seniors and families in the Pike Place Market.
Over 70 of Seattle’s premier food and beverage companies will be in attendance. Glass Vodka will be serving tastings of our Connoisseur Class Spirits. Use this link to purchase tickets and join us.
Date: October 19, 2016
The wildly popular Wild Ginger Asian Restaurant & Satay Bar in Seattle features the wildly delicious Glass Gimlet and customers crave it. The perfect night – a Glass Gimlet and Seven Flavor Beef and Wild Ginger Fragrant Duck.
Recipe for making for your home celebrations:
Lightly muddle a slice of cucumber and three leaves of Thai Basil.
Shake 1.75 oz. of Glass Vodka with 1.5 oz. of fresh lemonade and ice until chilled; serve in a glass with crisp cucumber, and garnish with a sprig of Thai basil.
Date: October 15, 2016
Find your Glass Vodka in only the most exclusive places. The superbly elegant Neiman Marcus Zodiac and Mariposa restaurants in Dallas now feature a number of enchanting Glass cocktails. Picture yourself here… on a break from shopping… Honey Glass Martini in hand…. the perfect afternoon.
Glass Vodka is privileged to join Stanley Korshak and 505 Ranch Club to support the AIM at Melanoma fundraiser. The event takes place at Stanley Korshak with a fashion show and live auction. And the official signature cocktail comes from yours truly!
Date: October 20, 2016 / Denver, CO
Glass Vodka was a sponsor of the James Beard Celebrity Chef tour and was the exclusive vodka for dinners during 2016 in Grosse Pointe, Boulder and Denver. On March 4, 2017, Glass Vodka sponsored the Celebrity Chef dinner in Seattle hosted by Chef Tyler Hefford of the Columbia Tower Club which featured courses from Oregon restaurants Ox, Imperial and Jory with San Francisco’s RN74, Seattle’s Altura and Team Sawyer Restaurants from Cleveland rounding out the dinner. The evening began with a cocktail reception featuring Glass Vodka, followed by a multi-course, wine paired dinner with other Glass Vodka cocktails featured throughout the evening.
We’re excited to be back with the Seattle Wine and Food Experience.
Friday night we are at McCaw Hall with all the movers and shakers for POP! Bubble and Seafood. We’ll be mixing up the Glass Pop! cocktail for attendees so please stop by!
The Glass Pop!
1 ½ oz Glass Vodka
½ oz lemon juice
3 oz San Pellegrino Melograno E Arancia (Pomegranate and Orange)
3 dashes bitters
Stir in shaker with ice and pour into glass with ice
On Sunday at The Grand Tasting, we are sampling Glass Vodka through an ice luge – an experience not to be missed!
Glass Vodka is taking Valentine’s Day and Blowing it wide open!
A sensuous six course tasting menu paired with Glass vodka, champagne and perfectly selected wines presented in an intimate setting. Only 28 people will be able to experience this exquisite evening celebrating the love of flavor. Don’t miss out. $100 per person.
And on the 10th day of Christmas…Our CEO, Ian MacNeil joins the festivities at Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden‘s Holiday at the Arboretum event today! He’ll be mixing a yummy cocktail and tasting Glass Vodka in celebration of the 12 days of Christmas theme. The featured cocktail can be found on a recipe card at the event which highlights 12 different cocktails from twelve Dallas restaurants that feature Glass Vodka. Thank you to all these amazing restaurants and their delicious recipes: Parigi Restaurant, The Tipsy Alchemist, Neiman Marcus Mermaid Bar, Mariposa and The Zodiac, Dragonfly Restaurant, Eddie V’s Prime Seafood, Ida Claire, La Bodega, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House, Dakota’s Steakhouse, Savor Gastropub, Al Biernat’s, and DISH Preston Hollow.
Awww, shucks…(pun intended). Our Holiday Open House was full of many sweet moments, just like this one. The evening included complimentary vodka tastings, oysters and cocktails. If you couldn’t make it this year, there will be more parties to come so stay tuned to Glass Vodka!
Our Holiday Open House in our Vodka Boutique is the place to be for all of your holiday shopping. Join us for complimentary vodka tastings, tasty treats, specialty cocktails, gift wrapping and more. After a bit a holiday cheer, take home gifts for every connoisseur on your list.
Unleash your inner mixologist this holiday season with Glass Vodka! Every weekend in December, the Boutique will highlight a signature holiday cocktail coupled with tastings of all our products. Join us each week to learn new cocktail recipes to add to your repertoire.
Here’s the line up:
Dec. 3 – The Winter’s Kick made with Glass Nectar. Our take on the Moscow Mule that will have you kicking up your dancing shoes!
Dec. 10 – This weekend experience the “sizzling, spicy, ultimate brunch essential like you’ve never experienced before,” Bloody Mary made with Glass Vodka.
Dec. 17 – With a cold wave hitting the U.S., “Baby It’s Cold Outside” feels like the perfect holiday cocktail to feature at the Boutique this weekend. Shop for all the vodka-lovers in your life while you sip on this delicious drink.
Dec. 23 – “You know who” will be coming down your chimney this week and he’ll be expecting more than cookies and milk. “The Spicy Santa” is the naughty and nice answer that will make Mr. Claus glow and Mrs. Claus sparkle on Christmas Eve!
Dec. 30 – Ring in the new year with a “kiss!” Mix sweet, citrus and a few surprises with the smoothest vodka this side of heaven – the “New Year’s Kiss!”
All recipes are in the recipe section of our website.
You are going to love the build-a-mule bar at Seattle Magazine’s 50th Anniversary Party! Glass Vodka along with Westland Distillery, Heritage Distilling Company, Inc, Copperworks Distilling & Tasting Room, DRY Sparkling, Soda Jerk Soda and Timber City Ginger Beer all come together for the “Craft Your Own Cocktail” bar. Let’s raise a glass with that cocktail and toast Seattle Magazine for a great 50 years.
Today, the ever-impressive Melaina is celebrating her one-year anniversary as Glass Vodka’s Head Distiller. She continues to dazzle us with her creativity & distilling expertise, and has also won a handful of awards. We can’t wait to see what she does next! Well here’s a little clue…. she’s setting the stage for a new ten-year product working with Charlie Hoppes of Fidelatas winery. Melaina – we are waiting in anticipation for your first Brandy.
Today we had the pleasure of hosting a wonderful crew from Seattle Met Magazine, Mary’s Place, Washington State Auto Dealers Association and Silver Scout Partners.. all in the name of a good cause. Brad from Brotherton Cadillac Buick GMC purchased Ian MacNeil‘s painted car at the Washington State Auto Dealers Association fundraiser for $2,500. The money was donated to Mary’s Place, a women’s and children’s homeless shelter. Our event was in conjunction with Starbucks‘s December giving initiative. Starbucks will match every dollar donated by customers in participating King County Starbucks stores between Dec 1-31. Thank you Brad Brotherton and of course, thank you Starbucks, the Schultz Family Foundation and Mary’s Place for helping to give every child a bed to sleep in!
What a privilege it is to be invited to the Lincoln “Luxury is” event in Los Angeles. Glass Vodka CEO, Ian MacNeil was there with Christi Meshell of House of Matriach perfumes making a signature cocktail and introducing the influencers to the perfect combination of perfume and vodka in a glass. What an exquisite treat!
Very exciting news for Glass Vodka! Our Vodka Boutique and Tasting Room has been launched on October 15th and is now open. All of the silky, smooth, sultry flavors of Glass Vodka, Nectar, Kona, Spice and GridIron are presented together for your sipping pleasure. The vodka, the great service and the beautifully artistic design of the boutique come together for a true Connoisseur Class Lifestyle experience.
Glass and pedal cars come together for a good cause! Ian was selected to be one of the artists to create a cool art car that was auctioned off at the VIP Preview Party at the Seattle International Auto Show. The WSADA’s “Art Cars For Kids” cause” brings together artists, and new car and truck dealers. Ian and Glass Vodka were humbled to be able to choose the charity the money raised from his car was going to. The money raised from his car will go to. Mary’s Place, a women’s and children’s homeless shelter. Ian’s car ion display at Pacific Place Seattle until Nov 7 & then at the Seattle International Auto Show on Nov 10.
Off to Portland for the James Beard Foundation’s Taste America dinner. Chris Cosentino of Cockscomb and Boccalone both of which are widely acclaimed and award winning restaurants in San Francisco was the featured chef. Our founder, Ian MacNeil (of the acclaimed and multi-award winning Glass Vodka which hails from Seattle Washington) was there too, serving up cocktails. It was a distinct privilege to partner with such an accomplished and passionate craftsman.
Also appearing at the new Delta Sky Club — The Glass Sky! Glass Vodka’s signature cocktail is exclusively served at the Club in the Seattle International Airport. Stop on by, grab a cocktail and relax while you wait for your flight.
What an entrance Ian MacNeil shines on the “blue carpet” at the opening of the new Delta Sky Club – Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Ian was there serving up Glass Vodka signature cocktails and marveling at the beautiful and amazing new Sky Club.
Congratulations Delta and thank you for a great partnership!
True story: Intuit interviewed our founder and CEO Ian MacNeil in Seattle ON National Vodka Day. Teaser – Ian gives his tips on a successful vodka business. He mixed his passions for wine and cocktails together and a connoisseur class spirit was born! Learn more about the intricacies of the distilling business and how the Seattle art scene played a part in the naming of his company.