These days, dinner parties are a pain in the butt to plan. Your best friend is following a gluten-free diet, your roommate is Paleo, your girlfriend’s new squeeze is vegan, and your neighbor just informed you that he’s avoiding sugar. Sounds like quite a dinner!
We can’t help you with the food, but we can help you with the booze. Whether your guests are on the latest fad diet or have (legitimate) allergies, here’s what you can safely serve them to get them drinking and to avoid the lecture about how sugar is a secret killer.
Sure, there’s gluten-free beer. But your guests and your taste buds deserve better. Although some people raise concerns about wine being aged in barrels sealed with flour paste or refined with products containing gluten, most experts agree that people with gluten sensitivities should be fine drinking wine. If you are concerned, ask the winemaker.
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You can also serve rum, tequila, or potato vodka. Although the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau says that most gluten is removed from gin, whiskey, and vodka during the distillation process, some experts say to play it safe and avoid those liquors.
Pour one out for the cavemen: Alcohol isn’t Paleo, according to Loren Cordain, Ph.D., founder of the movement. Our ancestors may have created fire, but they didn’t create distilleries or practice fermentation, according to some experts, though this, too, is debated. Cordain says moderate alcohol consumption is O.K. occasionally. He recommends wine or spirits, while Robb Wolf, author of “The Paleo Solution,” likes the NorCal Margarita: two shots of tequila, the juice of one lime, and a splash of soda.
Many people don’t realize that hard liquor doesn’t have any carbs. It’s the sugary mixers you have to worry about. Whether your guests prefer gin, rum, tequila, vodka, or whiskey, each has 0 carbs per ounce. Mix with diet soda or diet tonic and fresh lemon or lime juice.
Since a keto (as the cool kids call it) diet is low-carb and high-fat, neat spirits also satisfy their alcohol fix without violating any “rules.”
Dave Asprey doesn’t only recommend butter in your coffee. He’s also a fan of straight vodka, particularly potato vodka. He claims that since it’s distilled and charcoal-filtered, “your body will only deal with the alcohol and no other toxins.” A dry dirty martini made with potato vodka or gin also meets his approval.
Guinness made headlines in 2015 when the company announced it was changing the recipe so its beer would be vegan. Most Guinness fans never knew their beer wasn’t vegan. But many beers and wines are clarified with products such as casein (a milk protein), albumin (egg whites), gelatin (animal protein), and isinglass (fish bladder protein). So strict vegans won’t drink a sip of these because trace amounts of the fining agents remain in the liquid.
Luckily there are many vegan wines and beers on the market — and you won’t taste a difference. These tend to be clarified with products like carbon, bentonite clay, limestone, kaolin clay, plant casein, silica gel, and vegetable plaques. This process removes any grape skins, stem, and other sediment left over from the winemaking process. Barnivore.com maintains an extensive list of alcohol and what is and isn’t vegan, so check the site to see if your favorite brands are O.K. for your guests. Ciu Ciu is an organic, vegan Italian winery, and Domaine Bousquet is organic, vegan wine from Argentina.
Or go with hard alcohol! Distillation doesn’t need any clarification; as long as it doesn’t mention honey on the label and isn’t cream-based, that spirit is vegan.
Serve green juice spiked with vodka. Whoops, no, that’s just how we drink green juice. The truth is, anyone on a detox is following a strict diet and likely won’t accept your party invite. If they do, look up the master cleanse lemonade recipe. Or just offer them water.
Allergy: Fish, milk, and/or egg
As with your vegan guests, choose a vegan wine or beer, or stir up any cocktail, as long as it doesn’t contain egg white or any dairy-like cream. Sangria (made with vegan wine) is always easy for a party, or make a big batch of rum punch, margaritas, or sazeracs.