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.

Several of these best tequila brands from About.com's expert on cocktails are 100% agave, and so should suit your diet no matter how sensitive you are to trace gluten.

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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