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The Ultimate Guide to Gluten-Free Drinks in Restaurants

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Today, restaurants are facing new challenges and opportunities. With the rising numbers of people who are following different diets and excluding certain types of ingredients from their meals, achieving customer satisfaction could be tricky. 

From vegan drinks to gluten-free drinks and everything in between, you have a lot of recipes to try and planning to do. We are here to help you with the latter and make it easier for you to include delicious gluten-free beverages in your restaurant’s menu. 

A restaurant manager who knows what type of bar drinks to offer is a successful one. This will help maximize profits of the restaurant in a positive way, which may even help earn a Michelin Star in the future!

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Add Gluten-Free Cocktail Options to Your Restaurant Menu

During the process of creating your beverage program, it’s important to think about people with dietary restrictions and different lifestyles. If you add gluten-free cocktails as an alternative to classic cocktail drinks, customers will surely appreciate it. 

Other things that will happen by expanding your menu include: 

  • Meeting customers’ dietary needs - By adding gluten-free drinks to your menu, you will accommodate a wider range of customers. You will achieve similar results by offering plant-based milks alongside cow’s milk for your specialty coffee and matcha drinks, as well as cocktails.  
  • Broadening the customer base - By catering to people with sensitivities, allergies, and celiac disease, you attract new customers who may have chosen another place for brunch (check: what is brunch), fine dining, or a good lunch.
  • Unique menu offers - Almost identical to offering vegan wine and vegan non-alcoholic drinks, when you serve gluten-free drinks, your customers will be able to enjoy a unique product. This will help your business stand out from the rest. 

How to Safely Create Gluten-Free Cocktails

Hiring a cocktail expert would be of huge help when adding gluten-free drinks to your menu. There are some things to be wary of, which include: 

  • Ingredient selection - Read the labels of all spirits and mixers to verify the gluten-free status of each of them. 
  • Cross-contamination concerns - Cross-contamination can happen when gluten-free foods or drinks come into contact with surfaces, utensils, or ingredients containing gluten. If good hygiene is kept, cross-contamination can be prevented. 
  • Menu and labeling - Make sure all gluten-free drinks are labeled as such on the menu so the customers can easily choose what they prefer. 
  • Supplier verification - Speak to suppliers to find out what gluten-free options they offer. Find reliable businesses to work with to ensure the quality of the drinks and the great customer experience of your restaurant guests. 
  • Collaboration with experts - Work with a mixologist and/or nutritionist who can help you create unique signature cocktails that don’t include any gluten. 

Which Liquors Are Not Gluten-Free?

Various types of beer have gluten contents. This means that people on a gluten-free diet can’t have beer, lagers, stouts, and ales. 

However, most types of alcohol are free of gluten, which means they can be used in cocktails drinks in your gluten-free drinks menu. 

Drink & Food Pairings for Your Gluten-Free Menu

It’s advised to upgrade your menu at least once per year if you want to grow your restaurant business. Don’t do something completely different. Instead, add some vegan and CBD-infused drinks, or simply create a separate gluten-free menu.

Generally, there are various types of menus you can use for your business. You can even have separate ones based on season or types of food and drinks. 

Whether you include gluten-free items in your main menu or you create a separate one, these food and beverage pairings are not to be overlooked!

Gluten-Free Drink and Food Pairings

Here’s a list of delicious meals that will be a great addition to your gluten-free menu and will go well with gluten-free drinks:

  • Seafood or grilled chicken - Grilled chicken and seafood dishes pair well with refreshing drinks like sparkling water or infused water with different fruits. Some great cocktails with gluten-free ingredients are also a perfect match. Just make sure to use gluten-free alcohol, as well as mixers. 
  • Gluten-free pasta and marinara sauce - There are many types of pasta and the good news is that there’s even gluten-free pasta! Pasta dishes with marinara sauce go well with red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon or Chianti. See our red wine types chart for more helpful information. You can also serve gluten-free beer or a glass of rosé alongside the pasta dish.
  • Quinoa salad with mixed vegetables - Quinoa is a great addition to fresh salads. It’s very beneficial for people’s health and goes well with a glass of iced herbal tea, such as hibiscus or chamomile. In addition, you can serve quinoa salad with sparkling water with citrus fruits for a vibrant combination. If the customer ordering wants to see the wine list and it’s not interested in the non-alcoholic drinks, offer them a glass of rosé. 
  • Grilled steak or tofu and roasted potatoes - Make sure you have options for both vegans and non-vegans. Try offering grilled steak or grilled tofu with roasted potatoes, seasoned with different herbs and spices. Both dishes will go well with red wine like Malbec or Syrah (check: red wine types). In case the customers want a non-alcoholic gluten-free drink, serve tart cherry juice or a gluten-free dark ale.
  • Sushi rolls with gluten-free tamari  - Sushi is a must-have for a gluten-free restaurant menu. Consider adding vegan options that would pair nicely with vegan wine and vegan non-alcoholic drinks. As for gluten-free options to serve with sushi, choose sake or a light Japanese lager. Great non-alcoholic options would be water infused with cucumber or green tea. 
  • Green salads with gluten-free dressings - Serve a nice green salad with different dressings. White wines like Riesling or Pinot Gris (check: types of white wine) go perfectly with fresh salads. Iced green tea or a gluten-free cider are other great pairings to offer.
  • Gluten-free pizza with different toppings - Offer gluten-free pizzas at your restaurant, especially if serving Italian cuisine. Serve the gluten-free pizza alongside a glass of red wine like Merlot or Sangiovese. You can also offer gluten-free beer or cider, or even an iced herbal tea.

Build a Gluten-Free Restaurant Beverage Inventory

One incredible thing about great cocktails is that the ones containing cow’s milk can be made with vegan milk. Similarly, ones with gluten-cotaining ingredients can be recreated with gluten-free alternatives. This allows restaurants to attract a larger customer base.  

If you are wondering how to build a great restaurant inventory, full of quality gluten-free drinks, read the following list: 

1. Research Good Gluten-Free Options

Research the different gluten-free alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks you can offer. The non-alcohoic drinks can be freshly squeezed juices, infused waters, smoothies, mocktails, coffee and matcha, herbal teas, and gluten-free sodas. 

2. Look into Customer Preferences

Always consider the preferences of your customers when adding new optins to your menu. Don’t make too many changes too fast but allow time to see what people actually like. Also, don’t underestimate the insights your bar staff can give you, since they communicate with clients daily.

3. Evaluate Suppliers

Look for suppliers offering a range of gluten-free products you can use in your bar drinks. It’s recommended to look locally first, to save money on logistics. If there are no good options, look furrhter until you find a good fit.  

4. Menu Development

Create proper categories of all the gluten-free drinks you are offering. From refreshing poolside cocktails to gluten-free beers and coffee drinks, write down all ingredients and mark the drinks as gluten-free.

5. Advertise the Gluten-Free Drinks

Use online restaurant marketing tools to your advantage. Announce on all your social media channels that you are now offering a wide range of gluten-free drinks. Just remember to use good-looking glassware when posting picture of your offers. It can make a huge difference! 

6. Organize the Inventory

Setting a good inventory organization system in place is crucial. Make sure everything is running smoothly and you have what’s needed at all times by utilizing great beverage inventory software

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How Gluten-Free Drinks Can Fit Into Special Diets

What’s amazing about gluten-free drinks is that they fit a wider range of dietary plans. People on keto, gluten-free, paleo, vegan, vegetarian, or high-protein diets can have them. 

Keto and Gluten-Free Food and Drinks

The popularity of the keto diet peaked right before the pandemic. Now, fewer people eat keto but there are still many that follow such a diet. Because of that, you need to make sure there are proper food and drink pairings for this niche market.  

Gluten-Free Beverages Suitable for a Keto Diet

The drinks suitable for people on a keto diet include:

  • Infused waters - both regular and sparking water.
  • Teas without sweetener. Especially green, black, and herbal teas.
  • Classic black coffee or cold brew coffee
  • Sugar-free plant-based milk. 

Great keto foods you can serve include: 

  • Grilled or baked meat, and seafood dishes
  • Leafy greens, as well as broccoli and cauliflower. Zucchini, asparagus, and mushrooms are also suitable. 
  • Omelets to scrambled eggs, or hard-boiled paired with a fresh salad. 
  • Desserts with nuts and seeds like almonds or walnuts, as well as chia seeds and flaxseeds.

Gluten-Free Drinks Suitable for a Paleo Diet

People on a paleo diet eat mostly meat, nuts, fresh fruit, and vegetables. They don’t eat a lot of grains, which means they naturally consume less gluten.

Drinks suitable for paleo are:

  • Infused waters
  • Chamomile, ginger, and peppermint tea
  • Black coffee
  • Freshly squeezed juices

As for food, you can serve: 

  • Grass-fed beef, pasture-raised poultry, pork, and wild-caught fish.
  • Broccoli and cauliflower, as well as leafy greens. You can use bell peppers, Brussels sprouts, and asparagus, too.
  • Omelets, scrambled eggs, or boiled eggs are all great for paleo. 
  • Salads and desserts with different nuts and seeds
  • Berries, apples, and pears.
  • Salmon, shrimp, mussels, and sardines.

Gluten-Free Drinks Suitable for a Vegan Diet

Contrary to popular believe, there are many drinks suitable for people on a vegan diet. They include: 

  • Freshly squeezed juices
  • Smoothies made with non-dairy milk
  • Hibiscus, as well as chamomile, and peppermint teas (don’t use honey)
  • Coffee drinks with plant-based milks
  • Infused water with cucumber and fruits
  • Vegan wine and gluten-free beers 

With all the alcoholic and vegan non-alcoholic drinks you can offer in mind, let’s see what type of food you can serve: 

  • Quinoa salad with roasted vegetables
  • Veggie stir-fry with tofu or tempeh with gluten-free tamari
  • Lentil curry with coconut milk with brown rice or cauliflower rice
  • Zucchini noodles with tomato sauce and sautéed mushrooms
  • Vegan sushi with gluten-free soy sauce or tamari
  • Bean and vegetable tacos with gluten-free corn tortillas and salsa
  • Gluten-free pasta with tomato sauce

Non-Alcoholic Gluten-Free Drinks for Your Restaurant Menu

Lately, a lot of people have discovered they are gluten and/or dairy intolerant. Some of them noticed the impact various types of alcohol have on their system. That’s why these people are now looking for alternatives when going out to dinner with friends. The health benefits of it all are not to be underestimated, too!

Health Benefits of Non-Alcoholic Gluten-Free Drinks

Gluten-free beverages without alcohol provide many benefits, some of which are:

  • Suitable for gluten sensitivities and celiac disease
  • Improved digestion
  • Nutrient-rich alternatives
  • Lower calorie content 
  • Hydration 
  • Reduced alcohol-related issues 

The Rise of Gluten-Free Beer

It’s important to find gluten-free drinks that fit the concept of your business, can be paired with dishes from your menu, and are easy to supply. 

Beer is one of these drinks that you need to have on your menu. But if you want to know what’s the difference between gluten-free, low-gluten, and regular beer, just keep reading. 

What’s Used to Make Gluten-Free Beer?

Gluten-free beers are made with ingredients that don’t have any gluten. They can be sorghum, millet, rice, buckwheat, or corn. 

How Are Gluten-Free and Low-Gluten Beers Produced?

There are two ways to make beer with low gluten content or no gluten at all. It’s either by using gluten-free ingredients or decreasing the gluten amounts during the brewing process. 

  1. First Method - Using ingredients like sorghum, millet, buckwheat, rice, quinoa, or maize will ensure the final product has no gluten. Different beer brands choose to use various combinations to create different styles and tastes of beer.
  2. Second Method - For this method, beer is made with wheat, barley, or rye. Brewers then follow a process to decrease the gluten content to below 20 ppm. An enzyme can be used at the start of the fermentation process to break down the gluten protein, too. The final result here is a low-gluten beer that can typically be consumed by people with intolerance. 

Gluten-Free Beers vs. Regular Beer Types

Let’s look a little closer into the ingredients used to produce beer, as well as the different kinds, and more. 

How Is Regular Beer Made?

Regular beer is made of grain, hops, yeast, and water. Barley and wheat, as well as rice, corn, oats, and rye, are some of the grains that can be used in the process.  

How Is Gluten-Free Beer Made?

Gluten-free beers are also made with grains. The difference, however, is the type of grains that are used. They are sorghum, rice, or millet.

Is There Non-Alcoholic Gluten-Free Beer?

There are many different brands offering non-alcoholic beer. Some of them already make gluten-free versions, too. 

Health Benefits of Drinking Beer

Beer is not just for pleasure. You will be delighted to learn it can bring various health benefits. Whether regular or gluten-free, beer is said to:

  • Bring valuable nutrients 
  • Lower the risk of developing diabetes
  • Help with heart health
  • Build stronger bones 
  • Boost brain power 
  • Reduce inflammation
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How to Promote the Gluten-Free Beverages at Your Restaurant

To bring new customers to your business, you need to invest time and money in your restaurant marketing. But before you do that, you need to create an incredible beverage program that’s worth advertising.

It may sound easy, but menu types are easy to create, even when it comes to drinks. Once you narrow down the types of food you want to serve, you need to curate beverages that will pair well with it. Well-thought-out food and drink pairing options can make a big difference for any restaurant. This can even bring you a Michelin Star!

How to Use Gluten-Free Beverages in Marketing Campaigns

Competition is big in the hospitality industry. Nowadays, customers are looking for something new and exciting to try all the time. They want experiences and look for businesses that share their values and cater to their needs.

That’s why you need to showcase your gluten-free beverages, vegan non-alcoholic drinks, and coffee drinks with plant-based milk in your marketing campaigns. 

Use of Social Media to Your Advantage

People love to see beautiful things and scroll through social media. This is something you can use to gain new customers for your restaurant. Here are the platforms you can use and how to use them: 

  • Instagram focuses mostly on visual content. From Stories to Reels and the picture posts, you can try different options and show people the items on your menu in various ways. Post regular updates when you add something new to the seasonal menu. For instance, if you now add a range of gluten-free drinks, show them in pictures and videos, and announce them in your Stories, too. 
  • TikTok is a great tool for restaurant owners to use. Take a few short videos of the bartender making some great cocktails and other drinks you want to promote. For the gluten-free drinks, you can show what precautions you are taking to make sure there’s no cross-contamination. 
  • Facebook is also a platform that allows you to create different types of content. From pictures and videos to Stories and longer written posts, you should use all of it. Give information about the new drinks added to your menu. If you are talking about gluten-free drinks, explain what they are made of, the benefits of drinking gluten-free, and how you prevent contact with gluten. 
  • Twitter can be used to announce your latest menu additions, too. Attach a picture of the drinks. Use beautiful glassware to showcase the drinks in the best way possible.  

Another important thing to mention when it comes to social media is that you can and you should take advantage of the content your customers create. Encourage them to share pictures on social media by creating your own hashtag and reposting their pictures. 

Create a Website 

Social media is great but having your own website will give you more freedom. Upload your menu there and update people on your latest offers. You can also have a larger gallery to show your beautiful restaurant, food, and drinks. 

Use Email Marketing

Email marketing is something many tend to underestimate. Once you build a contact list via your website, you can make a huge difference in your restaurant business by sending emails. They can include offers, discounts, and information about the cuisine and drinks available at your place. 

Menu Design and Marketing Materials

Create special marketing materials for your restaurant, especially if you are serving something unique like gluten-free drinks. You should also make sure the menu is beautifully designed and well arranged, and that every vegan or gluten-free item on it is marked as such. 

Professional Help Managing the Inventory

If you need a helping hand with managing the inventory of your restaurant, you should give BinWise Pro a try. Our software can help you bring your restaurant business to the next level and will surely save you hours of counting bottles and prevent mistakes. Book a demo now!

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