Gluten Free Holiday Spirits

Holiday spirits will certainly get you in the spirit—unless you sip something that makes you sick. Many people can go with the flow and imbibe their holiday cocktails without worry, but for those of us with celiac, gluten sensitivity, food allergies, or even those of us watching our weight, it can be very challenging.

But it is doable.

I’m very careful to avoid the conflict and effects of ingesting something with gluten and ruining the healthy body I’ve worked so hard for. Very, very careful.

The drink itself may have an allergen in it (for example, wheat in beer). Alcohol is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), so alcoholic products do not need to follow current labeling laws or disclose allergens. In fact, many alcoholic beverages do not list ingredients at all. This becomes an issue for those with celiac disease who need to avoid wheat, rye and barley because of gluten.

If ingredients are unclear, consider calling or writing the company for a breakdown. Distilled alcohol is a bit less of an issue, but still worth discussing since the distilled theory doesn’t work for me. For example, I’ve felt unwell from certain distilled spirits, but fine from others like Woodford Reserve bourbon.

A sure fire way to lift your spirits this holiday season is to not drink too much alcohol. But if you do partake, here’s a list of what to consider as you sip slowly:

lift your gluten free holiday spirits bloody maryBeer: I don’t see gluten free beer offered very often, though cider is the best option but it’s really sweet and high in sugar. Any malt beverages like wine coolers, Twisted Teas and Smirnoff Ice, for example, also contain gluten. They’re not distilled either.

Wine: Both red and white wine is usually a good choice. I prefer reds and have enjoyed the following with no side effects: True Grit, Estancia, Dreaming tree, and Chappellet Mountain Cuvee if nice wine is being served, though I’ve had good luck with Trader Joe’s Block 67 Cabernet Sauvignon box wine.

Vodka: There is a bit of a gluten-free vodka controversy, so I skip all vodkas made from grain. Maybe you can handle it, but—in my tiny speck of a vodka world—I only drink what I see poured, and it’s only vodkas made from grapes, corn or potatoes. Brands I’ve tried that are safe with me are Ciroc, Tito’s and Chopin.

Whiskey: I read that most whiskeys are not safe for those highly sensitive to grain proteins, since they are distilled from rye, barley, wheat, and corn, but I’ve always been able to drink Woodford Reserve bourbon. I wrote to them to confirm. You can read their response to my inquiry here.

Rum & Tequila: Many websites report rum to be gluten free, however, spiced rums and flavored rums are not always safe on the gluten-free diet. I’ve personally tested Mount Gay rum and my go-to tequila is Patron, though I’m not too choosy with tequila if it’s made from 100% agave. A tequila shot chilled in a small tray of ice cubes is dreamy and simple.

Be wary of ANY cheap alcohol brands, as these are usually made from wheat and barley grains, and are added to other products to add alcohol content, while keeping the flavor. For me, under my own research and experimentation, I have found the above brands as the safest, gluten free holiday spirits.

I savour their goodness in tiny bits and stick to one type of drink—with a large glass of water on the side.

In which ever festivities you find yourself, know your limits. Go slow. If in high altitude, remember that also affects how you feel. And most importantly, drink water. Water is a game changer!

The concept of whole living intrigues me and is my Christmas wish for everyone. Balance. Health. Peace. Those are the things I’ve always requested… from myself. What I do for me. It certainly lifts my holiday spirits and makes life better for everyone around me that I can help. The universe has listened to my suggestions too, and helped me along by sending all sorts of life gifts to enhance the wholeness and tie the ribbon around this being.

You are a gift… believe that.

Adequate sleep
Eat healthfully for your body (For me it’s no gluten, barely any sugar, and few carbs)
Drink more water. It works!
Help those in need
Stay away from the holiday crazy stuff (traffic, commercialism)
Stand up straight
Wake up and say your grateful prayers

Do these FIRST.

Then when you do indulge in these tasty gluten free holiday spirits in small amounts and moderation, you will have a glow and sparkle all around you!

You can avoid the holidaze hustle over the next couple of weeks by planning ahead and taking extra good care of yourself. Remember to get at least 8 hours of sleep. Carry a water bottle around with you, filling it up frequently throughout the day. Plan your meals ahead of time so you’re not snacking on office sweets, and lift your holiday spirits without overindulging in alcohol. I know it’s fun to try a taste, but you’ll feel more tired and stressed from sugar in excess.

There are certain spirits that are better than others if you’re gluten free, and remember, we’re all affected differently. Be aware. Don’t drink anything you can’t verify. It’s important that we go easy on ourselves during this demanding time of the year. Be tender with our bodies. There are real deal spirit lifters too… like the friendships that catapult us to wellness. I call it Tendership. I’ll take a sip of kindness, please. Don’t mind if I do!

It’s such a simple thing, and isn’t simplicity over the holidays what we all desire and love so much? Keeping it light will certainly make your holiday spirits soar.

About Jet Widick

Jet Widick is the founder of Gluten Free Sage, a weekly publication that promotes healthy food, healthful lifestyle, mindfulness and minimalism. She believes that each of us longs for artful experiences and that we need to be well and inspired to help us become the best, most beautiful versions of ourselves that we can be.