Is Absinthe Gluten Free? Info and Brands

Is Absinthe Gluten Free
  • Pure distilled Absinthe is gluten-free
  • It does not contain any gluten element
  • The drink is also called ‘la fée verte’, which means ‘the green fairy.’
  • However, there’s always a risk of cross-contact in distilleries where producers process wheat, rye, or barley-contained drinks.

In this health-conscious era, people mostly prefer gluten-free foods. It has become typical with many dieting trends despite its many impacts.

However, people having the celiac disease are the ones who must avoid gluten. And when it comes to drinks, their options become limited. So, the question is, is absinthe gluten-free?

Absinthe is quite a popular drink, often known as la fée verte or the green fairy. With its excellent taste, the drink also ignites your visual senses with its mesmerizing green color.

However, there can be alterations, and some drinks may have gluten in them. The use of other ingredients and flavorings after distillation may contain gluten elements. 

What is Absinthe?

 la fée verte or the green fairy
la fée verte or the green fairy

Owing to the recent resurgence in popularity of Absinthe, most of you may venture a guess like Absinthe is a potent drink with a taste like black licorice that used to be banned.

Well, you are on the right path so far. It may be the introduction, but not everything the drink is.

Absinthe is a traditional spirit shrouded in mystery. At the basic, Absinthe is an anise-flavored spirit that is traditionally made from various botanicals.

The flavors used in the drink come from the same sources as well. Some most commonly used herbs are wormwood or herbaceous perennial, fennel, annile, etc. 

The spirit is relatively high in alcohol. So, people dilute Absinthe with water prior to drinking. While this obviously mitigates the whole proof, water also opens up the flavor and makes the drink more enjoyable.

But, these are just the basics of the drink’s ingredients. The actual play is how the drink makes you feel. 

Many people would describe Absinthe as hallucinogenic. It means that it can really make you feel anything. But the problem lies somewhere else.

Recent studies have found out that Absinthe contains thujone- a chemical responsible for its hallucinogenic reputation. However, thujone happens naturally in the drink and isn’t added manually. 

So, what’s the issue with thujone?

Thujone can be highly dangerous to human health. It causes convulsions and some other health issues. Moreover, drinking the chemical high enough concentration can even cause death.

But, some expert distillers say that it is in a way impossible for those who drink it casually. 

One estimation tells us that a devotee of the green fairy would have to consume three bottles of Absinthe to feel the effects. And chances are higher that the person would die of alcohol poisoning well before overdosing himself/herself on thujone.  

Throughout history, Absinthe has gone through the height of cultural acceptance to the tumultuous lows. The 20th century showed the most outright bans on the drink in various countries worldwide.

But the approval has remained the same among different classes. And for people who have celiac disease, Absinthe is probably the best drink so far. 

Is Absinthe Gluten-Free?

We know that anyone suffering from celiac would want a yes to the question. And the good news is, yes! But there’s a little twist to it.

Traditional Absinthe, which is made according to the authentic recipe, is safe for celiac patients. It does not contain gluten elements. 

Most of the colors and flavors of traditional Absinthe come from herbs. These herbs are soaked in the drink to retain the properties and make it more authentic.

Then again, what is the problem here? Well, nothing so far if someone/the manufacturer follows the same way. But if they do not, it can be a point of concern. 

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But what is precisely the fuss about gluten here?

Gluten is the name for all protein complexes, especially glutelins and prolamins, found in rye, wheat, barley, and sometimes even in oats. These complexes are toxic to the digestive system of many people. People with normal sensitivity to gluten will feel some discomfort after consuming such an item.

But, people with Celiac disease will feel it worse. Gluten can cause severe damage to their small intestine over time, making them feel vulnerable. The condition gets progressively worse, causing more severe conditions, including death. 

So, people with Celiac disease should always check what they eat. With this much understanding, we can say the fuss about gluten is serious.

Have you heard the beer used to be considered as “liquid bread”? So, when it comes to alcoholic beverages, most beers are taken out of their table for containing gluten in them. 

This is where the subject of distilled liquor comes into place. However, the topic is a little bit tricky. But, so that you know, distilled liquors are considered safe by both Celiac.com and ADA. The process eliminates the gluten protein complexes from your finished liquor, making it gluten-free.

The scenario is the same even for liquor containing gluten-laden grains such as rye and wheat.

However, not everyone agrees to it while citing their own experience with this distilled liquor (made from grains). Sometimes, it can be a result of an imperfect distillation. Therefore, the judgment should solely be of the person. 

So, how is it possible that any grain-based alcohol or Absinthe could use distillation for being gluten-free, only to get contaminated with gluten after the said process?

Well, for one thing, the process does not end with distillation but requires coloring later. 

The coloring brings green Absinthe its distinctive color and occurs after the distillation process.

It consists of the soaking of various herbs in the distilled liquor to bring the green fairy into life. As long as the combination of herbs does not contain any gluten element, such as barley, rye, or wheat, there is hardly any concern. 

But, if the distillery producing Absinthe also produces its own grain-based alcohol, they should exercise caution and ensure that the absinthe batch does not contact any raw grain. If it passes the process, then there’s no fear at all. 

So, while traditional Absinthe made from the authentic recipe is 100% gluten-free, one should be a little careful while buying a product from a brand producing grain-based alcohol.

The best way is to check their labeling or read some customer reviews before making a purchase. 

Top Gluten-Free Absinthe Options

With all your knowledge of Absinthe, you can easily decide whether to drink it or not. And if you go for it, this list of best Absinthe options would help you find your match.

Head forward and look at what our list has to offer. Please note all these brands produce gluten-free Absinthe and double-check the quality. 

1)St. George Absinthe Verte

If you love tradition and class, St. George Absinthe Verte is the first on the list. It is the first legal American Absinthe to hit the shelves after the country allowed the green fairy in its lands. 

As recommended by the company, it is better if you avoid drinking the Absinthe with sugar. You can enjoy the taste more by doing that.

Another benefit of St. George Absinthe Verte is that it is widely available across the States.

So, you can buy it and drink it anytime or wherever you want.

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2)Leopold Brothers Absinthe Verte

Is Absinthe Gluten Free?

This green-eyed beauty can entirely give you the true taste of Absinthe.

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Leopold Bros is a famous manufacturer of Absinthe. The company uses 19th- century techniques to produce its high-quality Absinthe. 

It starts with using a distilled grape base, Chilean Pisco, and then adds the fennel, anise, and wormwood.

The color is so vibrant that it may seem artificial. It comes from hyssop and lemon balm that is steeped in the mix after the distillation.

All these ingredients make it perfect for dropping into a Sazerac

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3)Absente Absinthe Liqueur

Trying Absinthe for the first time may give you a little kick. And when you are starting, it is always better to try with something lighter and more authentic. So, for the beginners out there, we choose Absente Absinthe Liqueur. 

Absinthe Liqueur is not the lowest ABV absinthe at 110 proof. But it is lighter than many in the market.

The perfect taste of the liqueur is achieved from the blend of botanicals such as wormwood, peppermint, mugwort, anise, and lemon balm. These are some ingredients dating back to the 19th century, which make it ideal for newcomers. 

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4)Kübler Absinthe

Is Absinthe Gluten Free?

Anyone willing to taste the traditional Swiss Absinthe, Kübler Absinthe, can bring you that. The brand hails from the home of the spirit, making it more authentic and approaching. Now it is their fourth generation operating from the office to maintain the quality and reputation of the brand. 

It contains all those herbs which make a complete Absinthe. Wormwood, anise, fennel are some to name.

The drink was widely famous in France and Czechoslovakia (presently the Czech Republic). You can try customizing the spirit to bring out the green fairy effect best. 

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5)Vieux Pontarlier

It took Tempus Fugit five years to produce this award-winning Absinthe recipe. While discovering the recipe, the brand used traditional absinthe stills in one of its last two surviving distilleries in France and Pontarlier while following its original pre-ban absinthe guide. 

Vieux Pontarlier Absinthe is precisely crafted in small batches using alembic stills. These were specifically designed to make quality Absinthe. This historic drink is distilled with locally grown wormwood or Artemisia absinthium, one of the world’s finest. 

It also contains Provençal fennel seed, green anise seed, and a mixture of extra aromatic herbs and spices. The drink does not contain any additional sweetening. So, it has got all its tastes from natural sources, making it all the more refreshing. 

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6)Vieux Carré Absinthe Supérieure

Is Absinthe Gluten Free?

Vieux Carré Absinthe Supérieure, produced by Philadelphia Distilling, is an excellent on goer with a Sazerac cocktail.

The drink can lift up your spirits with its refreshing taste. Plus, it is 100% gluten-free, making it all the safer for people having Celiac disease. 

There is a good history to the drink. Vieux Carré obtained its name after New Orleans’ French Quarter.

As the brand says, it was the first Absinthe distilled, and sold on the East Coast in over a century after its launch in 2008.

The main botanicals or herbs used in the Absinthe are wormwood and star anise.

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7)La Clandestine Absinthe

Authenticity is important for Absinthe to enjoy it at the max. La Clandestine Absinthe Supérieure comes from Couvet, Switzerland.

Being made in the birthplace of Absinthe by following a moonshiner’s 1935 recipe is what makes it all the more authentic. 

It is a clear, or Blanche absinthe. We believe that it is a style that looks like one of the very first absinthes from the 18th century.

Unlike many traditional Absinthes that we drink, this one is better enjoyable without using sugar. 

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8)Pernod

Pernod follows an Absinthe recipe dating back to the 1800s. If you are really into the Absinthe market, you must have heard the name before. It had quite the reputation until 1935, when the bans were implemented.

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But now, as the ban has been lifted, it is again in the first row of the most trusted manufacturers. 

Pernod uses locally grown herbs for its drinks, which brings a refreshing taste to its drinks.

The best part about Pernod is that you can find it anywhere due to its engaging popularity. The Absinthe is 100% gluten-free. So, people with Celiac disease can consume it without worrying. 

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Ways to Drink Absinthe

There are different ways in which you can enjoy Absinthe. We have mentioned three styles below in which you can prepare your drink and bring the magic to it. If you are ready, let’s head straight to it. 

  • Traditional Way

The best way to enjoy Absinthe is by going traditional. It gives you the real taste of the past when the drink was appreciated by many. First, you have to get an Absinthe glass (see the picture!) and pour your favorite Absinthe in it. Keep the quantity between an ounce to an ounce and a half or so.

Put a spoon on the top of your glass and put two sugar cubes on that. Now, pour ice-cold water, very slowly, over the top of the sugar cube, and you’ll see it breaking and falling into your absinthe along with the water. Your green drink will then turn cloudy, which is called the louche.   

Is Absinthe Gluten Free?

Depending on your taste, you may prefer to keep the water-Absinthe ratio somewhere between 3:1 to 5:1. Finally, stir the mixture, and you are good to go. Drink it with all your time and enjoy every sip of it. 

  • Modern Way

The traditional way can be time-consuming. Or you may not have all the equipment for that (Of course, not everyone has an Absinthe glass ready!). So, the modern way is a little simpler. Take any old glass and pour your absinthe in it. Pour the water in the same way as before. 

Now, here is the important part. You won’t need sugar cubes in the preparation. Instead, you can use sugar syrup and make it all the more delicious. Just be sure that you don’t use any gluten-contained syrup, such as brown rice syrup. 

  • Cocktail

Drinking Absinthe with a cocktail may seem like a beginner’s job, but it is undoubtedly an excellent way to taste it. You would need two tumbler glasses for the preparation. Now, pour your Absinthe in one glass and swirl it until there is a thin coating inside.

Now take the second glass and stir a double shot of cognac in that. Add a few dashes of bitters along with a sugar cube with ice. Then strain this into the first glass, and voila! Your cocktail is ready. However, while making a cocktail using Absinthe, you should be careful about what you are mixing with. Make sure you don’t add any gluten element to it. 

Conclusion

Seeing the minimal options for people with Celiac disease, it is very common to look for something safe. While the pain of gluten is something known only to them, with a good guide, we can help.

So, is Absinthe gluten-free? Yes, it is, until you mix some gluten elements in it. 

However, it contains thujone, which can cause convulsions and even death. So, please keep a limit to your enjoyment.

Also, make sure you try out every possibility and make the drink as enjoyable as possible. Lastly, don’t forget to check our list of the best Absinthe drinks to get a safer choice.

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About the Author: Diana

Foodie at heart, ever since I discovered I had Celiac, I completely changed my diet and eating habits, I enjoy writing and reading about recipes and actually cooking for my family