Let’s face it: These days it’s cool to be gluten free – everyone is doing it. Paleo is the Atkins of 2013. And that’s awesome and terrible for those of us who suffer from a gluten intolerance or celiac disease because our mandatory diet is now popular and it’s easier to find options; but because our dietary needs are someone else’s fad diet, not everyone believes you when you explain that it’s an allergy. The worst thing about being forced into eating like a caveman isn’t just that French bread is off the menu, it’s that on a hot summer day a cold beer is only an option if you’re willing to deal with the consequences. And mostly it’s not worth it.
So whether you’re going gluten free for health reasons or because eating like a caveman is fun and cool, I’ve come up with a list of 5 gluten free summer beverages to be enjoyed on a patio, in your backyard, at the cottage, or wherever else you feel like drinking this summer.
Cider is a happy alternative to beer for most of the gluten free crowd; it’s a delicious boozy apple juice with a bit of sparkle and you really can’t go wrong there. Personally I recommend Pommies Dry Cider – made in Ontario from apples grown in Ontario. It’s light, refreshing and sweet without being syrupy. If you’re in Toronto and want a night out with friends, every Tuesday at Fynns of Temple Bar is cider day. They serve Foundry Golden Cider for $4 a pint and you’ll all love the patio. Win.
Wine is an easy option for the gluten challenged but in the summer I try to stick with sweet whites because they feel the most summery. I like Jacob’s Creek Moscato as it’s sweet without being overpowering and it is the perfect drink for sitting with my girlfriends at the cottage.
Safe (and Delicious) Cocktails
One of the hardest things to figure out when you first go gluten free is which cocktails you can drink. Well here’s the awesome part: A lot of them. Distilled alcohol usually doesn’t contain prolamins (gluten proteins) which makes them safe to drink for anyone on a gluten free diet. (Editor’s Note: That said, there are people with celiac disease who do have reactions to certain alcohols that are derived from gluten grains.) So which cocktail is my favourite this summer? The Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey Sweet Tea at Lou Dawg’s. It makes me feel sweet and Southern all at once, plus it’s out of this world tasty.
For the perfect summer time drink, nothing beats sangria – it’s easy to share, delicious and completely GF friendly. If you’re looking for the ultimate sangria recipe, I have it, but that’s a secret that I will carry to my grave. In lieu of my recipe, I suggest you try Julie’s Cuban for what is undeniably one of the best sangrias in Toronto. Take a date and share a pitcher under twinkly lights and you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to a tiny Cuban snack bar in the heart of Havana.
The Hard Stuff
Pretty much everything is safe because of the lack of prolamins (see Editor’s Note above), but personally for me nothing toasts a summer evening quite like a gin and tonic. Even if the closest you come to owning a yacht is a pair of cute deck shoes, a G&T can make you feel like a yachter. Try a high quality gin like Hendrick’s with cucumber and lime for a really refreshing drink.
Just because you’re can’t join in on patio beers after work doesn’t mean you’re limited to boring beverages. Enjoy!