For those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, figuring out which alcoholic beverages are safe to drink can be tricky. While most distilled liquors like tequila, vodka, rum, and gin are gluten-free, many cocktail mixes and liqueurs contain gluten. This leaves gluten-free drinkers wondering – does Jose Cuervo margarita mix have gluten?
The short answer is no, Jose Cuervo margarita mixes do not contain gluten. Jose Cuervo is one of the few major margarita mix brands that produces a dedicated gluten-free product line. Their mixes are tested to contain less than 20 ppm of gluten.
In this article, we’ll take a deeper look at Jose Cuervo’s gluten-free claims, ingredients, and testing procedures. We’ll also provide some tips for safely enjoying Jose Cuervo margarita mix if you follow a gluten-free diet due to celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity.
About Jose Cuervo Margarita Mixes
Jose Cuervo is a popular brand of tequila and ready-made margarita mixes produced by Proximo Spirits. The company makes a few different margarita mix products:
- Jose Cuervo Margarita Mix
- Jose Cuervo Light Margarita Mix
- Jose Cuervo Golden Margarita Mix
- Jose Cuervo Authentic Margarita Mix
- Jose Cuervo Gold Margarita Mix
While most of Jose Cuervo’s margarita mixes contain gluten, the company has created dedicated gluten-free versions of their Margarita Mix and Light Margarita Mix products. These state “gluten-free” directly on the label.
Jose Cuervo’s gluten-free labeled margarita mixes comply with the FDA’s gluten-free labeling standards. For a product to bear a “gluten-free” claim in the United States, it must contain less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten.
Products that contain between 20-100 ppm can be labeled “very low gluten” but not “gluten-free.” Anything over 100 ppm of gluten cannot make any claims related to being gluten-free.
The fact that Jose Cuervo explicitly labels their mixes as “gluten-free” means these products have tested below 20 ppm of gluten.
Ingredients in Jose Cuervo Margarita Mix
According to the ingredients list printed on the bottles, Jose Cuervo’s gluten-free margarita mixes contain:
- High fructose corn syrup
- Concentrated lemon juice from concentrate
- Natural flavors
- Sodium citrate
- Citric acid
- Sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate (preservatives)
- Yellow 5 and Blue 1
- Propylene glycol
None of these ingredients contain gluten, so there is no obvious source of gluten in Jose Cuervo’s labeled gluten-free margarita mixes.
Potential Sources of Gluten
While the ingredients themselves appear gluten-free, potential sources of cross contamination and gluten could include:
- Shared Equipment: The facility may produce other products containing gluten on shared equipment.
- Shared Facility: Airborne particles or cross-contact in a shared facility could expose mixes to gluten.
- Natural Flavors: The proprietary natural flavorings may contain gluten or be derived from gluten-containing grains.
Reputable gluten-free companies like Jose Cuervo should take additional precautions and use dedicated equipment, separate facilities, and screened ingredients to avoid gluten cross-contamination. But microscopic amounts below 20 ppm may still get through.
How Jose Cuervo Tests For Gluten
To ensure their margarita mixes meet the FDA’s “gluten-free” standards, Jose Cuervo has their products tested for gluten by an independent third-party laboratory.
Gluten testing is typically performed using an ELISA test, which can reliably detect the presence of gluten down to approximately 5-10 parts per million. This is far below the FDA’s 20 ppm cut-off.
Jose Cuervo states that their testing confirms the finished mixes contain less than 20 ppm of gluten. So you can be confident that their testing would catch issues if gluten contamination occurred during manufacturing.
Here is a table summarizing Jose Cuervo’s gluten-free claims and testing:
|Product||Gluten-Free Label||Independent Third-Party Testing|
|Jose Cuervo Margarita Mix||Yes||Yes (<20 ppm of gluten)|
|Jose Cuervo Light Margarita Mix||Yes||Yes (<20 ppm of gluten)|
Enjoying Jose Cuervo Margarita Mix Gluten-Free
While Jose Cuervo’s testing is reassuring, those with celiac disease or severe gluten sensitivity should still take some basic precautions when using their gluten-free labeled margarita mixes:
Check the Label
Be vigilant about always checking the label for the “gluten-free” wording. Do not assume a product is gluten-free because it is from the Jose Cuervo brand.
Be very careful to avoid cross-contamination from family members or friends using the regular (not gluten-free) Jose Cuervo margarita mixes.
Keep your gluten-free mix sealed and stored separately. Use clean glasses and cocktail tools that have not come into contact with gluten-containing products.
Know Your Personal Tolerance
Since independent testing confirms less than 20 ppm of gluten, Jose Cuervo’s labeled gluten-free mixes should be safe for most people following a gluten-free diet.
However, the tiny amounts of potential gluten may still cause issues for those who react to traces of cross-contamination. Get to know your own tolerance levels when consuming products made on shared equipment and in shared facilities.
Drink in Moderation
Too much of anything – gluten or no gluten – is never a good idea! If you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, be sure to enjoy Jose Cuervo’s gluten-free margarita mixes in moderation as part of an overall healthy gluten-free diet and lifestyle.
The Bottom Line
Jose Cuervo clearly labels two of their margarita mix products as “gluten-free” – the Margarita Mix and Light Margarita Mix. These mixes are tested to contain less than 20 ppm of gluten.
The ingredients of Jose Cuervo’s gluten-free margarita mixes do not naturally contain gluten. And thorough third-party testing helps ensure any risk of gluten cross-contact during manufacturing stays well below the FDA’s 20 ppm limit.
Overall, Jose Cuervo can be considered a safe and recommended gluten-free brand of margarita mix for those with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. Just remember to always double check the label for the “gluten-free” wording and take basic precautions to prevent cross-contamination at home.