Is Rum Gluten-Free? Learn Which Rum Brands You Can Trust

Plain rum should be fine. Flavored rums, maybe not.

Three glasses of rum on barrel
David SangerCollection:The Image Bank

Plain rum is gluten-free—it's made from sugar cane, not from the gluten grains wheat, barley or rye. That applies whether it's dark or light rum. However, spiced rums and flavored rums are not always safe on the gluten-free diet.

The spiced and flavored rums can be tricky because manufacturers of alcoholic beverages aren't required to disclose their ingredients. Many, in fact, use special recipes and formulas that they're not especially eager to reveal.

Here's what you need to know if you have celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity and you want to drink rum.

Which Brands of Rum Are Gluten-Free?

Here's the gluten-free status for the most popular brands of rum worldwide:

  • Bacardi. This may be the best-known rum in the U.S. and worldwide—virtually every bar will have a bottle of Bacardi on the shelf. According to the company, Bacardi 8 (Ocho), Superior, Gold, Select, Bacardi 151 (a very high-proof rum) and Bacardi's flavored rums are gluten-free. Beware of Bacardi Silver, as that contains malt and is not gluten-free (even though it was discontinued several years ago, you might still see some Bacardi Silver out there).
  • Captain Morgan. Captain Morgan makes Captain Morgan's Original Spiced Rum and a variety of different flavored rums, ranging from coconut to grapefruit. Original Spiced Rum has no gluten ingredients, according to the company, but it is not tested for trace gluten. Flavored rums from Captain Morgan may or may not contain gluten, so steer clear of those.
  • Cruzan. This rum is made in the Caribbean on the island of St. Croix. The Cruzan collection includes several different dark and light rums, plus flavored rums. As with other brands, the plain rum should be safely gluten-free, but the flavored rums may not be safe. Cruzan doesn't make any gluten-free claims.
  • McDowell's No. 1. This brand is based in India, and is the number one best-selling brand of rum worldwide. McDowell's No. 1 Celebration rum isn't spiced and doesn't include any gluten ingredients. Therefore, it should be safe. However, the company doesn't make any gluten-free claims, and doesn't say whether it makes its rum in a facility that also processes gluten grains. The company makes multiple other spirits.

There obviously are many more brands of rum. Again, generally speaking, plain rum (dark or light) should be safe, especially if it's from a small distillery that makes only rum, since that eliminates the chances of gluten cross-contamination.

Gluten-Free Piña Coladas and Other Mixed Drinks

In many cases, mixed drinks made from rum also are gluten-free. A rum-and-coke, for example, is gluten-free, since both plain rum and Coke are safe. And a mojito made with rum, soda water, lime juice, sugar, and mint also is gluten-free (flavored mojitos may not be, though).

However, you should beware of rum drinks with multiple ingredients, such as a Long Island Iced Tea—many will not be safe.

 Also, pre-made drink mixes, such as those intended for piña coladas, may contain gluten ingredients as flavoring.

There is no gluten-free-labeled piña colada mix on the market. Fortunately, it's easy to make your own piña coladas from scratch using coconut cream and pineapple juice: combine one jigger of rum, half a jigger of coconut cream, and one-and-a-half jiggers of pineapple juice. Garnish it with fresh pineapple slices.

Continue Reading