Vodka traditionally is made from grains (usually the gluten grains wheat, barley and rye). But there's a growing slate of specialty vodkas made from alternative materials such as corn, potatoes and grapes ... and there's some evidence that these vodkas may fit into a gluten-free diet better than traditional vodka options.
Many people with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity find they can't drink vodka that's been distilled from gluten grains (see my article Is Vodka Gluten-Free? for the details). However, these people frequently find that they can tolerate non-gluten-grain-based vodka just fine.
But it's not always obvious which vodkas on the liquor store shelves are made from gluten grains, and which are not, so here's a list of your various gluten-free vodka options:
- Blue Ice vodka. Blue Ice makes two different vodkas: one potato-based and one wheat-based. If you decide to try it, make sure you grab the blue bottle, which contains the potato vodka. Both the wheat and the potato vodkas are processed in the same facility. Blue Ice Vodka is the first brand of spirits eligible for a gluten-free label.
- Bombora vodka. Bombora, a grape-based vodka, is imported from Australia. The company makes only grape-based vodka, so there should be few concerns about gluten cross-contamination in the facility.
- Boyd & Blair vodka. Boyd & Blair, made at Pennsylvania Distilleries in Glenshaw, Pa., is crafted from small, local batches of potatoes in a gluten-free facility.
- Cayman Blue vodka. Cayman Blue, produced in the Dominican Republic from sugar cane and spring water, is the first distilled spirit certified gluten-free by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO), which tests products to make sure they contain fewer than 10 parts per million of gluten.
- Chopin vodka. Chopin makes three varieties of vodka: wheat, potato and rye. Obviously, if you react to vodka distilled from gluten grains, you need to stick with the potato-based vodka, which comes in a bottle with a black cap and lettering.
- Ciroc Ultra Premium vodka. Ciroc, another premium vodka, this time made from grapes, comes in four different flavors. Ciroc's plain vodka is gluten-considered gluten-free.
- Cold River vodka. Cold River potato vodka is made in Maine and comes in two flavors: plain and blueberry (made with real Maine wild blueberries). Both are considered gluten-free. Interestingly, the company also makes an unusual potato-based gin (see the article Is Gin Gluten-Free? for more information). .
- Devotion vodka. Devotion vodka bills itself as the first brand to introduce a full line of U.S.-produced gluten-free and sugar-free flavored vodkas. Devotion features five flavors: Wild Cherry, Coconut, Blood Orange, Black and Blue and "The Perfect Cosmo." If you're sensitive to dairy, note that Devotion adds casein protein from cow's milk to its final products to improve "mouth feel."
- DiVine vodka. DiVine vodka is made from grapes by a winery in southwest Michigan. The winery/distillery does not process any gluten grains.
- Famous vodka. Famous vodka is made from Idaho russet potatoes and water from the spring-fed Snake River in Idaho. Famous sells a traditional vodka and a rose-flavored vodka infused with rose extract.
- Glacier vodka. Glacier vodka, made in Idaho out of Idaho potatoes, does not include any gluten grains, according to the company. Be aware it's made in a facility that also makes a wheat-based vodka (actually, it's the same facility that makes Blue Ice vodkas).
- Krome vodka. Krome vodka is made from corn in Oregon and bills itself as "naturally gluten-free." According to the manufacturer, there is barley present in the facility where Krome is made, and some of the same equipment is used for both the barley-based and the corn-based alcohol products. "All tanks are cleaned far beyond standards" between products, according to the distiller.
- Luksusowa vodka. Poland-crafted Luksusowa (which means "luxurious" in Polish) is the top-selling potato vodka in the world, according to distributor W.J. Deutch & Sons. Luksusowa makes only potato vodka, so again, any concerns about facility cross-contamination should be minimal.
- Monopolowa vodka. This potato-based vodka originated in Poland and now is distilled in Austria.
- RWB vodka. This vodka, made from Idaho potatoes, is marketed by Luxuria Brands and prominently features the words "gluten-free" on the package. Be aware that it's made in a facility that also processes gluten grains.
- Smirnoff vodka. Smirnoff is distilled from corn, and the company's plain vodka should be safe, even if you're sensitive to gluten-grain-based alcohol. However, watch out for Smirnoff Ice beverages (the kind that come in six-packs) they are malt-based and not gluten-free (see my article Gluten-Free Ciders and Beer Alternatives for more information).
- Tito's handmade vodka. Tito's is made in Texas from corn. Here's the company's rather extensive (but helpful!) gluten-free statement: "Tito’s is made from 100% corn and as a distilled spirit, is completely gluten-free. Some producers add a little bit of mash back into the spirit after distillation, which would add gluten content into an otherwise gluten-free distillate (if using wheat as the base), but I don’t do that regardless. It’s an important thing for us, and we actually include “GLUTEN-FREE” in lots of our materials and on the website so people can make informed choices. But, I am a vodka man, not a doctor, so if you have more questions or concerns, you should definitely talk to your doctor about it!"
- Vikingfjord vodka. Vikingfjord is another pure potato vodka which is made in Norway.
Given all these alternatives, you should be able to find a vodka to drink even if you can't tolerate the ones made from gluten grains. Cheers!