An alcoholic drink with a punch of apples – and sometimes other fruits… Now, who wouldn’t love such an amazing drink? Cider’s fruitiness is much loved globally – and it is even available in a non-fermented version. But if you have celiac disease or gluten intolerance, you might be left wondering, “Is cider gluten free?”
Hard cider contains apples and sometimes other fruits. It is fermented with yeast. All these are naturally gluten free. The same goes for non-alcoholic cider. The only way cider can have gluten is through cross-contamination or gluten-containing additives.
So should you drink cider even if it is not certified? What are some safe brands producing cider for people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance? Keep reading to find out!
Table of Contents
- 1 Is Cider Gluten Free?
- 2 What Exactly is Cider?
- 3 Is Cider Vinegar Gluten Free?
- 4 Cider vs. Wine vs. Beer
- 5 Gluten Free Cider Brands
- 6 Gluten Free Cider Cocktail Recipe
- 7 Final Words
- 8 FAQ
Is Cider Gluten Free?
Cider is one of the most popular fruit-based alcoholic drinks. Whenever we talk about cider, it seems to evoke a sense of festivity in our minds. But for celiac patients and gluten intolerant people, there’s one crucial question that needs to be answered: is cider gluten free?
For both hard cider and sweet cider, the primary ingredient is apple. Sometimes, the drink may contain other fruits for added layers of flavors. Since fruits have nothing to do with gluten grains like wheat, barley, or rye, cider, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, is naturally gluten free.
Unlike drinks like beer or ale, alcoholic cider does not contain a grain mash. It is concocted by fermenting unpasteurized apple juice. The fermentation process requires sugar and yeast. Sugar, too, is naturally gluten free and doesn’t add gluten content to your favorite beverage.
The other important ingredient in question in hard cider is yeast. There are different types of yeast used in making alcoholic drinks. For cider, champagne yeast or white wine yeast is usually used. Sometimes, these are replaced by ale yeast. Luckily, all of these are naturally gluten free.
The only time you need to worry about yeast being non-gluten is when its brewer’s yeast, which is usually a byproduct of the beer brewing process and hence, contains gluten unless otherwise mentioned. But it is not used in cider. The yeast used in hard cider will not trigger allergic reactions.
Similarly, sweet cider, also referred to as just apple cider, is a non-alcoholic beverage made from unfiltered and unpasteurized apple juice. Just so you know, apple cider has the potential to turn into hard cider if allowed to sit for a while. You’ll also find dealcoholized cider varieties with low or no alcohol content.
All of these fall under the umbrella term “cider” – and with apple as the key ingredient, they are all naturally non-gluten. However, unless you choose a certified gluten free beverage, there’s a possibility for the cider to come in contact with gluten-containing ingredients during manufacturing or processing. This type of cross-contamination can add gluten to cider.
There are many varieties of cider available in the market, and some of them may contain additives for flavor, color, texture, or preservation. These may contain gluten, too. So it’s a good idea to check the ingredients list or try only a small amount of your favorite non-certified cider and observe how your body reacts to the drink.
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What Exactly is Cider?
Cider, or more elaborately, hard cider, is a kind of alcoholic drink made from apples. It is made by fermenting the juice of apples of different varieties – especially crab. Sometimes, sugar and other fruits are also added to the beverage to enhance the taste and make the flavor more complex.
There are different methods of making and fermenting hard cider. Accordingly, the cider varieties differ in clarity, color, taste, and alcohol content. The ingredients and recipes vary from one country to the other. In most varieties, there’s a high level of sugar content.
In comparison, sweet cider or apple cider is nothing but pure and unfiltered apple juice. It contains no alcoholic content but has the potential to turn into hard cider. That’s because it is unpasteurized. Pasteurization of apple juice requires it to be exposed to 75 C for 20 minutes to kill the organisms that cause fermentation.
Is Cider Vinegar Gluten Free?
Apple cider vinegar is a type of vinegar that comes from cider. The apples are chopped and covered in water and allowed to ferment until ethanol is formed. Then, bacteria turn the alcohol into acetic acid. That’s how you get apple cider vinegar, which contains no alcohol.
But is cider vinegar gluten free? It is evident that just like apple cider, cider vinegar, too, is naturally gluten free. That’s because it is made from apple juice that has turned into hard cider. The ingredients used in the first stage, i.e., apple and other fruits, sugar, and yeast, are all free from gluten.
Turning cider into vinegar does not require additional ingredients. Hence, there’s no possibility of gluten getting added. The only chance of cider vinegar ending up with trace gluten is cross-contamination in the kitchen or during storage.
Cider vs. Wine vs. Beer
As you must have understood by now that hard cider is made from fermented apple juice. Sometimes, it may contain other fruits, too. The process of fermentation is initiated by champagne yeast or white wine yeast, along with sugar.
Wine, too, is an alcoholic drink made from fruits. But the difference lies in the vital ingredient, i.e., wine is made from the juice of grapes. To start the process of fermentation, wine yeast is used. This type of yeast can ferment fructose and glucose.
On the other hand, beer is an alcohol-based beverage made from malted barley. And it may contain other grains, too, along with sugar for taste enhancement. It is fermented using brewer’s yeast that is capable of fermenting maltose in grains.
Cider and beer are similar because of the sugar content in both of them, though the ingredient is added at different stages in the two beverages. Other than that, there’s hardly any similarity between the two – except maybe the yellowish colors.
Cider and wine are more similar to each other as they both come from fermented fruit juice. But wine is made using grapes online, while cider is primarily made from apples. Wine may or may not have added sugar. Their fermentation processes are similar, too.
It is also to be noted that because of the grains used and the addition of brewer’s yeast, beer is generally loaded with gluten content. On the other hand, both wine and cider are free from grains and use different strains of yeast, making them naturally gluten free.
Gluten Free Cider Brands
It is evident that hard cider is a naturally gluten free beverage. There is, however, a chance of cross-contamination in the facilities, which is true in most cases. But do not worry because we have for you a list of cinder brands that you can drink safely without triggering allergic reactions. Take a look!
- Ace: Ace is a brand that brings a wide range of flavors to cider lovers, including apple, of course. The brand declares that it is suitable for people with celiac disease, and it proudly marks itself gluten free on the package.
- Angry Orchard: While Angry Orchard Cider varieties are not certified gluten free, it is still considered a reliable brand. The brand clarifies that the product uses naturally gluten free ingredients and is made in a clean facility to prevent contamination.
- Strongbow: This is yet another hard cider brand that everyone loves – including people with gluten intolerance. It is imported from England – and the brand clarifies that it is gluten free. Even the package is marked that way.
- Stella Artois: Stella Artois is one of the world’s favorite apple ciders, and it is safe for you if you have gluten intolerance or celiac disease. The product is considered an excellent balance of flavor and safety.
- Crispin: Crispin is yet another brand that offers a wide range of delicious flavors of cider. The good news is that it is a certified gluten free beverage that you can drink without worrying about experiencing allergic reactions.
There are many other safe and reliable brands that you can enjoy if you’re looking for ciders. These include Blue Mountain Cider Company, Jack’s Hard Cider, Original Sin, Magners, Rekorderlig, and Woodchuck. While not all of them are certified, they are considered reliable and safe.
Gluten Free Cider Cocktail Recipe
Cider is delicious all by itself, of course! But it is also an excellent choice for cocktails. Here’s a recipe for a gluten free cider cocktail that’s easy to make and the perfect drink to serve at any party, especially during winters. Take a look at the gluten free apple cider margarita recipe:
- Hard cider – 3 cups
- Orange juice concentrate – 3/4 cup
- Fresh lime juice – 1/2 cup
- Ice – 3 cups
- Lime and Salt – To garnish
- Put the hard cider, orange juice concentrate, lime juice, and ice in a blender.
- Blend to form a smooth consistency.
- Rim serving glasses with lime and salt.
- Pour the drink into the glasses and garnish with a wedge of lime.
Hard cider is a deliciously flavored alcoholic drink that everyone loves. It has a festive feel to it. But is cider gluten free and safe for people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance? The good news is that it is naturally free from gluten because of the ingredients used.
There are plenty of trusted brands that you can resort to if you love cider. If you go for a non-certified brand, you can take an additional step towards your safety by drinking the beverage in small amounts and observing yourself.
Q. Are ciders ok for celiac patients?
Ciders, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, come from apple juice, which is a non-gluten ingredient. Hence, ciders are naturally free from gluten content. The yeast used in hard ciders, as well as sugar, are also gluten free. However, there might be a possibility of cross-contamination.
Q. Does yeast in cider contain gluten?
The fermentation process in cider requires sugar and yeast. To ferment apple juice and turn it into cider, champagne yeast or white wine yeast is used. Both of these are naturally gluten free. Hence, they do not introduce gluten content to cider, unlike brewer’s yeast which usually contains gluten.
Q. Which ciders are ok for celiac patients?
Almost all cider brands produce naturally gluten free beverages because cider is made from apples. However, if you want to be extra careful, choose brands like Ace, Angry Orchard, Crispin, Strongbow, Stella Artois, etc., which are either certified or genuinely safe and trusted.