Living the gluten-free lifestyle often means passing up on the foods & drinks which you dearly love. This is why I think it’s important, from time to time, to indulge in treats like these gluten-free cocktail recipes. Perfect for summer, vacations & times when a glass of wine simply isn’t enough.
When it comes to mixed drinks (and alcohol in general), gluten-sensitivity can be a tricky and somewhat frustrating subject. Not only are you unable to drink the most common alcoholic beverages, but navigating the sea of alcoholic ingredients can be a minefield as well.
So what do you do on a hot summer’s afternoon? Well if you’re anything like me, you break out the gluten free cocktail recipes.
In this article I’ve featured my top 5 gluten free cocktail recipes for hot summer afternoons. Each of the mixed drinks in this list are gluten free, very easy to make and absolutely delicious. Enjoy!
For me, the margarita is the epitome of alcoholic summer drinks. Ice cold, sharp acidity, high alcohol, easy-to-make and ideal at any time of day. Look, don’t judge me, but a margarita with breakfast can be an excellent way to start the morning…
The main alcohol used in a margarita is Tequila. Tequila is made by fermenting the juices of the agave plant with water, making it 100% gluten free. There are no grains used in its production, so even discounting the process of distillation, tequila should always be free from gluten.
However, as with any food product, the cheaper you go the more shortcuts are taken. Legally for tequila to bear the name tequila, it must be made using at least 51% agave juices. This means the other 49% can made from other ingredients (such as juice made from sugar cane). Tequila that is not 100% agave will be listed as mixto on the bottle. To stay safe, always buy 100% agave tequila.
Furthermore, tequila is also known for its golden-brown colour. Good tequilas get this colour from barrel aging (i.e the brown colour comes from the wood). These good quality barrel aged tequilas are known as “reposado” or “añejo” and it will always be listed on the bottle.
Cheaper tequilas are often given their golden hue by the addition of caramel colouring which can sometimes be made using wheat. The refining process of caramel colouring will rarely leave behind any gluten and there are many other ingredients which can be used to make caramel colour.
With all that said, any excuse to buy higher quality alcohol is a good excuse in my book. Alternatively, stick to clear tequilas known as blanco if you’d rather not take the risk.
The other key ingredient in a good margarita is Cointreau. Cointreau is made by distilling orange peel and according to Cointreau themselves, absolutely no gluten or grains are used in its production.
Here are some of my favourite margarita recipes to get you started:
Mojitos take a handful of ingredients and a little bit more effort to make than our first choice on the list. In our book, though, the extra effort is worth it.
With the sun is shining in your backyard, a sweet ‘n’ ice-cold mojito can transport you to a far flung Caribbean beach.
The main (and typically only) alcoholic ingredient used in a mojito is white rum. White rum is made by fermenting and distilling sugarcane. There are no grains used in its production so you can rest assured that by rum’s very nature, it will be safe and gluten free.
Here are some refreshing mojito recipes to get you started:
3. Strawberry Daiquiri
Daiquiri’s are typically made with lemon and lime juice alone. Seen as we’ve already got margaritas in our list, let’s twist this one up with some red summer fruit.
Unlike our first two cocktails which are extremely popular the world over, many people have never heard of a daiquiri and many bars leave them off their cocktail menu.
This is a real shame considering how easy they are to make. My favourite thing about making strawberry daiquiris in summer is that I can make them by the pitcher-load.
Simply load the ingredients into a blender, whizz ‘em up and you’re ready to please your guests (or just get deliciously wasted on your own).
The alcohol in a daiquiri is provided by white rum, which as we mentioned above, is naturally gluten free.
Here are some strawberry daiquiri recipes to get you started:
4. Mexican Mule
No doubt you’ve heard of a Moscow Mule, but have you heard of a Mexican Mule? No? Well let me introduce you…
A Moscow Mule is made up of vodka, ginger beer and lime juice. Vodka is often made from wheat which is obviously a risk for Coeliacs, and in terms of flavour, I find vodka a little too harsh an ingredient – especially for drinking in the heat of summer.
So instead I prefer to opt for an alternate tequila-based version dubbed a Mexican Mule.
Moscow Mules are for cold nights, Mexican Mules are for hot days.
The Mexican Mule is made up of tequila, ginger beer, lemon/lime juice and Cointreau. As we’ve discussed above, all of these ingredients are gluten free.
To further increase the guarantee of this cocktail being gluten free, you can also make your own ginger beer. Making your own ginger beer is much easier than it sounds and instructions are included with the recipe I’ll share below.
My favourite Mexican Mule recipe: http://whatshouldimakefor.com/mexican-mule/
5. Semifreddo Bellini
I’ve been mixing and drinking cocktails for years, but I only recently stumbled across the wonderful Semifreddo Bellini recipe.
In the summer months people often turn to sparkling wines like Champagne, Cava and Prosecco, all of which are delicious in their own rights. And hey, if you have a bottle of Champagne lying around, what’re you looking at cocktail recipes for..?
Anyway, every now and again you’ll buy or be gifted a bottle of sparkling wine which is down-right awful.
No matter how low in quality a bottle of sparkling wine may be, it can still be painful to throw it down the drain. My solution? Use it as a cocktail ingredient.
There’s a huge range of sparkling wine based cocktails and more often than not they’re very simple to mix.
A typical bellini recipe requires 3 simple ingredients: peach puree, sugar & Prosecco (or any other sparkling wine).
On its own a bellini is not a summer-specific cocktail. But jazz it up with some peach schnapps & blended ice, and you’ve gone from standard leftover cocktail mix to a flute-full of summer heaven.
Here’s my favourite Semifreddo Bellini recipe, by none other than Martha Stewart: http://www.marthastewart.com/317391/semifreddo-bellini
What is your favourite summer cocktail recipe?
For the discerning cocktail lover, 5 simple recipes may just be enough to whet your appetite. So I pass the buck to you: what are your favourite gluten free cocktails?
As I always say on GlutenBee, by leaving a comment on this post, you never know when you might help a fellow Coeliac or gluten-sensitivity sufferer.
Post your recipes & links in the comments below and help spread the buzz of gluten free cocktails this summer. Cheers!