Is Tequila Gluten-Free?

A glass of gluten-free tequila
Is tequila gluten-free?. Getty Images/Rita Maas

Question: Is tequila gluten-free?

Answer: Tequila made in the traditional way entirely from the blue agave plant is naturally gluten-free. However, some cheaper brands of tequila are considered "mixto," or not entirely from the blue agave plant, and these might possibly contain gluten — you'll need to contact the manufacturer to ask.

The Basics of Tequila-Making

The blue agave plant is a high-sugar plant, and all that sugar goes into making traditional tequila.

"Mixto" tequila, meanwhile, obtains at least 51% of its sugar from the blue agave, but can get the other 49% from other fructose and glucose sources.

Whenever there are other sources involved, gluten can sometimes enter the picture — for example, wheat can be used to produce glucose syrup.

Now, to be fair, it's very, very unlikely that a tequila manufacturer would use a gluten ingredient in this process — I've heard rumors, but I've never actually confirmed such a use.

But if you want to exercise an abundance of caution (getting glutened is never, ever fun), then I'd recommend you stick with traditional, 100% blue agave tequila. Yes, it's more expensive, but I believe it's better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your health.

If the tequila bottle does not state "100% agave," then it's mixto. Mixto tequilas won't be labeled "mixto," however — they'll just say "tequila."

There are many more mixto tequila brands out there on the shelves than there are 100% blue agave tequila brands.


The Bottom Line

Realistically, even most cheaper tequilas will not contain gluten, even in trace amounts. But as I said, if you're particularly sensitive to gluten cross-contamination, you should stick to the higher quality (and unfortunately more expensive) 100% blue agave tequila — those tequila varieties should be completely gluten-free.

If tequila's not for you, there are plenty of other types of alcoholic beverages that I can recommend when you're following the gluten-free diet. These include particular types of gluten-free vodka, wine, gluten-free beer, rum and even some types of whiskey and gin. Take a look at the "Recommended Articles" section below for the details.

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