I have Celiac disease? OMG! Can I still drink??


I know. I know. It’s such a shallow question. I mean, you’ve just been diagnosed with Celiac disease. Alcohol is the last thing on your mind. Or is it??

I’ve been known to enjoy a cocktail or two and for me, it was front and center in my mind. I knew beer was out the window (sigh) but what about wine…or vodka…or my special margarita (lots of fresh lime, dash of orange juice)?

Rest easy. You can still drink.

If you’re a beer snob like me, it hurts. No getting around it. But there is good news. There are some decent gluten free beers out there made from sorghum (New Grist is currently my personal favorite) and there are more and more coming to market as the brewers realize there is a demand and it’s not going away. Dogfish Head, my pre-celiac favorite brewer, is coming out with a gluten-free beer in December. Very cool. And here are a few more you may want to try. If you find one you love, by all means let me know and I’ll spread the word.

Hard Alcohol
This includes vodka, gin, rum, tequila, scotch and whiskey. You may think these are prohibited because many of them are made from wheat, barley or rye. But the distillation process actually removes all of the gluten making them completely safe to drink. There are also vodkas made from potato instead of grains, so if you want to play it extra safe, you can always go in this direction.

Totally safe. Some wine coolers may not be safe so be sure to check with the manufacturer. But if you’re still drinking wine coolers…well, that’s a topic for another day.

Flavored Liquor
Tread lightly and be conservative. There seems to be no definitive answer on these. If in doubt, don’t drink it.

Most are safe, but check the labels as some are made with barley.

So What’s the Bottom Line?
Make a Grey Goose martini. Enjoy a Tanquery and tonic. Go nuts with your Captain Morgan and Cokes. Savor a nice Merlot. Do your shots of Cuervo.

You may not feel great in the morning…but it won’t be because of gluten.

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31 thoughts on “I have Celiac disease? OMG! Can I still drink??”

  1. Love your writing style. and had one of your margaritas last night. You’re right. The orange juice was a nice touch. Thank you.

  2. When I tell people I am gluten-free one of the first things they say is “What??? No beer??” Luckily there are more options available. Have you tried New Planet beer yet? It is one of the best beers on the market.

    Also, there are a lot of creative vodkas out there. I read about one made from honey and another from grapes.

    Tequila is safe too. 😉

    1. I think much error is being accepted in terms of alcohol and celiac disease. Based on my personal Celiac experience and my mother’s Celiac and auto-immune hepatitis condition, alcohol is not recommended for a celiac patient at all.

      My GP, hematologist, gastroentorologist and my hepatoligist concur.

      The idea being that the liver is the most common major organ to be affected by Celiac, (plus of course bones and intestines,)

      I would make a common sense case against alcohol consumption across the board. I have since stopped drinking completely, i.e alcohol in every ingestion damages the liver in some small way, and can, but not always trigger an autoimmune response in the organ, which usually can’t be reversed.

      I am speaking from my own and my family experience, a lot may be hereditary, but not all. Err on the side of caution. I’m not taking the chance, since I have committed 100% percent to a gluten-free life, (as much as humanly possible) I certainly can completely eliminate the alcohol related risk on my body.
      That’s my opinion.

  3. I want to know the name of the beer to drink for celiac people. I like beer once in a blu moon when it is really hot. I live in toronto I just want a know names of beer for celliac people.


    1. there’s 5+ beers in Canada that i know of… here in Manitoba we have 4 at the local Liquor Commish, my fave is Glutengurg… In my earlier comment I proclaimed i was off all alcohol, but I’ll amend that to maybe once a month, maybe less. I simply had to test (for research lol) the different beers now available in Manitoba Canada. We have 5, the best is Glutenberg, they have a red, dark and pale ale. Didn’t go for the red one, the pale was great. just saying.

  4. Before being diagnosed with Celiac Disease (lowest Vitamin D on record), I never drank liquors, so I am clueless. What can I order without the fear of getting sick. I’ve been ordering Patron, but that is getting expensive and I’m drunk before I know it. Tangeray and Tonic sounds good, but I don’t want a girly drink in a bar – like a margarita, although I do love it. What are some vodka drinks? Can I drink Gin? I am staying away from the brown liquors as I am not taking any chances, I don’t care how distilled they are.

  5. I had a drink with Galliano last night and I definitely think it had gluten. I can’t find information on it, though. Are flavored liquors safe?

  6. I am still in a lot of confusion about my condition I was only diagnosed two weeks ago with celiac disease anyone with any info for me would be greatly appreciated x

    1. It take time for it to sink in. You’ll go thru all the stages. But you’ll find peace with it eventually. We have a great community here who love helping others. Stick around. Wishing you health.


  7. I hv cd.. I was 30 32 kg till 18 year of my age. When diagnosed I gained 45kg weight in two year with hardcore gym training and beeerrr.. oh yeah

  8. Distillation does NOT make grain alcohol safe for celiac disease patients. You need to update this post!

    This misconception stems from the fact that, if you catch CD early enough, you may not feel pain or other severe symptoms when exposed to small amounts of gluten, so you think that the distilled alcohol isn’t hurting you. ALL grain alcohol is damaging your intestine, no matter how many times it was distilled. Distillation does not break gluten up enough- components such as gliadin remain intact and continue to cause an immune reaction. My fiance, who went undiagnosed for a long time, has tried these supposedly safe distilled vodkas and was violently sick every time.

    You think having celiac disease is bad, try Lupus, Crohn’s, or colorectal cancer- all diseases you put yourself at risk for if you consume ANY amount of gluten regularly.

    As pointed out by Pim Zond above, liquor is probably not great for you anyway if you have CD. Why double your risk by consuming gluten while you drink?

    1. That’s simply not accurate TC. It has been proven by all of the experts that the distillation process does indeed remove all gluten.

      And there is no need to compare diseases…it doesn’t serve a purpose except to belittle those with “less” of a disease.



      1. Sick. Every time. Science has shown that though the gluten molecule is somewhat broken during this process the remaining pieces are still dangerous to the intestine of someone with cd. And I am not anyone, I am saying that someone with cd who is not will develop even worse symptoms such as cancer. Cd alone is not lethal, but these complications are… I usually really like and agree with your blog. I don’t see why you are trying to make me out to be a crank when I am trying to provide life saving information and to correct a long standing and dangerous misconception.

        1. I would not say cancer is a symptom, but one possible result, and not every CD person is susceptible… the main thrust of the CD problem is simple… with CD your body has not or does not absorb the proper amount of nutrients your body needs over time to allow for a “natural” defense against certain diseases developing through life. Such as hepatitis, bowel disease, etc. It can never be clear which Celiac patient will develop what, if any of these in life… there are many factors to individual health conditions. But one point is to remember is with Celiac you are MORE likely than others to develop certain issues…

      2. How true. Also, as serious as CD is, we all have to bear in my mind, that not everyone has the same reactions to “breaking the diet”, nor will everyone suffer a Celiac related disease later in life, there are many dangers in life. So I simply try my best and don’t dwell on what the future holds. Simply make an informed decision about your own course of action. … just saying.

      3. I react to distilled alcohol and vinegar… so I agree that there is gluten still in it. Some Celiacs are that sensitive, so there must be gluten in it still! I have to eat specific pickles and use specific alcohols and vinegars.

    2. I agree with some but have to comment on the distillation process.

      “Distillation is a process of separating the component substances from a liquid mixture by selective evaporation and condensation. Distillation may result in essentially complete separation (nearly pure components), or it may be a partial separation that increases the concentration of selected components of the mixture.”

      … that being said it is conceivable that if you got a vodka made from potatoes, some are, or double distilled, it would be safe for CD. But again, with the possible acception of wine or the very occasional social drink of GF beer, I would try to minimize use, esp. if you are 30+ and diagnosed with Celiac, as the older you are the more “Damage” was done to your system.

  9. I’ve been diagnosed this past week. Just found this sight. CD can be lethal TC. Alcohol does do some damage regardless of what have or don’t, but I’d rather die happy. Or move to Colorado. 😉

    1. Yup, but being on the health kick I am on, I would temper that as well, since too much soda is hard for your kidneys to process, you may look into the type of soda you drink, i. e. sodium citrate or…

  10. Although I found your page to be very helpful I think you should edit the comment you made under baileys that’s states that whiskey is gluten free. I’ve been gluten free for almost 5 years, diagnosed with celiac and I can tell you from my experience it is not gluten free. I did find this article I wanted to share with everyone. I hope it is helpful. Btw tequila is 100% gluten free 🙂
    “In truth, no study has actually considered whether people with celiac and gluten sensitivity can safely enjoy alcoholic beverages distilled from gluten grains without damage. A few researchers have tested gin, whiskey and gluten grain-based vodkas for gluten content, with mixed results — some have found gluten in them and some have not.

    Theoretically, distillation, if it’s done properly, should remove all the gluten. But not all makers of alcoholic beverages distill enough times to purify their beverages completely. In addition, some add in a little of the grain “mash” (which does contain gluten) following distillation to improve color and flavor, and there’s always the possibility of cross contamination from gluten grains in the manufacturing facility following distillation.”http://celiacdisease.about.com/od/copingwiththediet/a/AlcoholicDrinks.htm

  11. Loads of Gluten free beers now made available because the gluten is stripped out with an enzyme. Theres loads here glutenfreebeerstore.co.uk think its UK only tho.

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Who I am. And who I'm not.

Who I am. And who I'm not.

I AM someone who's been gluten-free since 2007 due to a diagnosis of severe celiac disease. I'm someone who can steer you in the right direction when it comes to going gluten-free. And I'm someone who will always give you the naked truth about going gluten free.

I AM NOT someone who embraces this gluten-free craziness. I didn’t find freedom, a better life or any of that other crap when I got diagnosed. With all due respect to Hunter S. Thompson, I found fear and loathing of an unknown world. But if I can share my wisdom, tell my stories and make the transition easier on you, I’ve done my job.

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