What must it be like to order any drink off the menu and enjoy it with total confidence that you won’t fall sick instantly or have the after-effects rear their head the next day? For those with allergies, choosing a drink can be as complex as ordering food off the menu, and there are some bars and restaurants that are not helping the cause with menus that are not clearly labeling the ingredients. If you find yourself drained by the nightlife experience and don’t think it’s worth the trouble, follow these tips to navigating your way around allergy-friendly alcohol.
If you are a coeliac or gluten intolerant, then you might have ruled beer out as your preferred drink at home or out. Well, that might have been a hasty move as more and more breweries around the world are beginning their foray into gluten-free beer. As beer is essentially yeast, hops, and barley – this has long been a problem with the gluten-sensitive community as barley contains gluten and so do some yeasts. Start exploring gluten-free beers and see if there is a range out there that you like. Remember, a ‘wheat free’ label does not always mean ‘gluten-free’ so be sure to analyze your labels closely.
Wine is another beverage that can present a risk for those with allergies, as wine contains sulfites. Sulfites can be found in lots of food and drinks as they help in coloring food and drink, and also regulate other food additives presents. For those with an allergy to sulphites, drinking wine can cause an asthmatic reaction and often result in quite a severe reaction. It is possible to buy sulphite-free wine, but this is a modern trend and won’t be possible with some of the larger wine manufacturers. Also, people who struggle with histamine and hay fever might have mild allergy symptoms with wine containing sulfite, so be sure to notice how your body reactive (even if it’s only slight) to what you are consuming.
Cocktails are particularly tricky as there is not one universal recipe for each cocktail, and you will find most venues and mixologists like to put their own spin on classics. Those with fructose allergies should steer clear of cocktails as they often contain fresh fruits or even derivatives of fruit that are going to cause an allergy. It is also worth stating an egg allergy if you have one because some popular cocktails (including Ameretto Sour, Pico Sour, Gin Fizz) have raw egg in them to create the textured froth and thicker drink. Nightshade allergies might also be compromised if the cocktail contains chillis and certain berries, so consider declaring your allergy to the bartender if you are ordering off the cocktail menu.
When it comes to drinking with confidence, alcoholic spirits might actually be your safest bet. In fact, vodka, gin, and tequila are the least likely to cause any allergic reactions and all low in histamine levels. You might also want to research the best mixer for these spirits that is safe for you to drink and have it back of mind if in doubt and you want to order something that you know will be the right option in any bar or establishment. Of course, you should always drink spirits responsibly and have a set limit to keep you accountable.
Going to the pub or a new club doesn’t have to come with apprehension, but it will require some research on your part to understand what drinks are on and off your allergy menu. Also, get to know your local bartenders because you never know which one will have the same allergy as you and open you up to some great drinks.