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Is Ouzo Gluten-Free?

Although plain, distilled alcohols are generally gluten-free, ouzo is a drink that needs more careful consideration. That is because gluten-containing grains are sometimes added to the drink after the distillation process.

Ouzo is an alcoholic beverage traditionally found throughout Greece and Cyprus. It’s primarily made of rectified spirit (a highly concentrated distilled alcohol) with the remainder of the ingredients, added after distillation, often (but not always) including fruits, grains and lots of spices. Each manufacturer that makes Ouzo puts their own twist on it, making it hard to determine if a particular Ouzo can be considered gluten-free.

The Old Sugar Distillery has a gluten-free version of Ouzo called the Americanaki Ouzo, which is distilled from beet sugar and blended with other gluten-free ingredients, such as anise, in a facility that does not use gluten ingredients. This would be a recommended option. There is always a risk for gluten cross-contamination in facilities that process products containing wheat, barley, or rye so it’s important to look into each brand and ask them questions directly when choosing Ouzo.

For those that would rather play it safe and steer clear of Ouzo completely, the following simple gluten-free recipe can be used as a substitute:

Gluten-Free Ouzo Substitute

Mix together the following:

  • 1 tablespoon of gluten-free vodka (vodka is typically gluten-free, just watch out for flavored varieties)
  • 1/8 teaspoon aniseed, crushed

Common Brands of Ouzo

Any information on the gluten content of particular brands shared above was obtained during the last update of this page. Be sure to check with the manufacturer for the latest info or if you have any questions.

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