With long days and hot holidays ahead this summer, happy hours and mixed cocktails are a staple to July and August weekends. Vodka based beverages are among the most popular for an after work libation, but are they safe for the gluten sensitive?

While traditionally made from potato, vodka distilleries have been known to use grapes, corn, and even wheat or other gluten-containing grains. Though experts, including the National Institute of Health, maintain that the distillation process removes harmful gluten that would cause flare ups among celiacs, even if the product is made from gluten-containing ingredients, many celiacs can have serious reactions to products coming from wheat, rye, and other gluten-containing grains. The reactions are similar to that from cross-contaminants, or products made in a facility that also processes gluten, and they just aren’t safe for all celiacs.
Fortunately, there are a number of companies that pride themselves on completely gluten-free liquor. Smirnoff, for example, distills vodka from corn, rendering it a celiac-friendly vodka, and one of the most commercially available.

The Aristocrat Group Corp. recently announced the launch of RWB Ultra-Premium Handcrafted Vodka by Luxuria Brands. The company uses Idaho potatoes as the base for their vodka, and is in the process of conducting blind taste tests to ensure product standards on par with the top shelf vodkas currently available. The new product, set to debut in August, seeks to cater towards the gluten-free market, an industry that is projected to generate $6.2 billion of revenue by 2018, with a celiac-safe liquor.

What’s your favorite summer beverage? Have you had any trouble with distilled liquors in the past and thought you’d have to swear it off for good?