January 13 is National Gluten-Free Day and, in solidarity with our gluten-free brethren, we’re dishing out the drinks fit to sip that avoid those pesky grains. You’ll be thrilled to know there’s actually loads of options to choose from. It is worth noting that the FDA states that all purely distilled liquors, even ones that are made from oat, wheat, barley, or rye, are able to be certified gluten-free because the distilling process effectively removes the protein responsible for all the trouble. That being said, it's always advised to check for additives (flavorings or otherwise) that might contain gluten, even if the spirit itself is technically gluten-free. But with so many amazing options, we don’t blame you if you want to skip the grains entirely.
Nothing to ‘Wine’ About
First up is wine. Virtually all wine is gluten-free. No wheat, barley, or rye products are used in the production of wine. It’s also, mostly vegetarian, if not vegan. (Some producers use egg whites or isinglass―a kind of gelatin obtained from fish―in the fining process, but many folks are moving away from these practices altogether. And since all wine is gluten-free, this leads us to our next Celiac-safe sipper.
All brandy, including Cognac and Armagnac, is distilled from grapes, and is usually aged for a minimum of 2 years in oak. Brandy distillation is a delicate process and tends to avoid any shortcuts in the aging or distilling process. We can’t stop raving about Copper & Kings Brandy. Exclusively copper pot-distilled, non-chill filtered, no added flavors, colors or synthetic chemicals the final product is full of character, depth and integrity. Matured in Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey and medium-char American oak barrels for balance, complexity and their signature velvety finish. Expect aromas of honey, cherry wood, and honeysuckle with luscious notes of dried stone fruit, feisty spice, tobacco and toasted oat.
Tequila and Mezcal
Tequila and Mezcal have exploded onto the scene in recent years as American cocktail culture has more accessible, and for good reason. There are noted differences between these two spirits, region, aging, process and raw materials all differ, but each one comes from 100% agave, as in no grains whatsoever! Tequila must be made, by law, from only blue agave and mezcal can be made from over 30 varieties - the most common being Espadin. There are endless flavor profiles and techniques for both spirits so don’t be shy, get in there and start sipping. Here are two of our recent favorites:
Oro de Lidia Tequila Reposado
Made from 100% agave and aged 6-12 months in American white oak and French oak barrels which gives reposado its classic flavors. Still, there are floral and fruity flavors balanced by grassier herbaceous notes, white pepper, and lavender with a smooth, mellow finish.
While Mezcal is definitely in the same universe as tequila, the flavor profiles can differ drastically. We love Erstwhile’s Espadin Mezcal. Don’t worry, just because Espadin is the most common agave used in Mezcal does not mean it can’t make some of the most highly regarded Mezcals around. Erstwhile is 100% organic, dedicated to the sustainability of the land and the independent families making mezcal in the ancestral method all throughout Mexico. This mezcal has a buttery smooth mouthfeel with notes of butterscotch, black tea, banana and roasted maguey. A notable spice profile, think savory, spicy-sweet, like a Texas barbeque, with subtle lingering notes of ash and smoke on a delightfully smooth finish. Approachable yet complex, traditional but somehow totally unique - Erstwhile is a real standout among Espadin based Mezcals. Perfect for first-time drinkers and seasoned mezcal fans. Not to mention the company is female-owned and operated!.
The signature spirit in all those delectable beachside cocktails--next up is rum. The world of rum is seemingly endless, there are many different styles, regions, and processes for rum-making. The three main types of rum are white, dark and spiced and within those three categories, there are many different variations. Legally rum can be distilled anywhere in the world which is rare for any spirit. You’ll most commonly find rum hailing from Trinidad, Jamaica, Cuba, Guyana and Barbados, historically its an island product, which is why you always seem to find it in tropical climates. Brimming with flavor, history, warmth, and spice there is one thing that unifies all breeds of rum. They must be distilled from sugar. However, not all rum has to be saccharine. One of our new faves is HSE’s Black Sheriff Rhum—short for rhum agricole—which is made only in Martinique and distilled from sugar cane juice. Aged between 3 and 4 years in American Bourbon Barrels, there is a subtle sweetness, backed by vegetal notes, warm spice, and tropical fruit.