Q: One of my friends is sensitive to gluten and has eliminated it from her diet. Can she consume bourbon, particularly in holiday treats like bourbon balls?
A: Bourbon is believed to be gluten-free. There is no gluten in corn, which is the majority of the mash. While the other grains used – barley and either wheat or rye – do have gluten, it is believed that the gluten is left behind in the distillation process.
Gluten is nonvolatile, so it should not be able to become a gas and get transferred into the distillation. But that has not been verified on a molecular level.
However, a small number of people with gluten sensitivity have reported having a reaction. So it could be that a very small amount remains, or the final product may come into contact with something that contains gluten at the manufacturing facility.
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