‘Tis the season: beware of nuts in alcoholic beverages!

By Faith Huang

This holiday season, it is important to be aware of food allergens that can pop up in unexpected places if you have food allergy to peanuts or tree nuts! I recently came across a nice article written by kevvyg at the following link, , and have adapted it for your information!

Peanuts and tree nuts are often found in holiday food, such as desserts and stuffing, but have you thought about nut proteins that may be in alcoholic beverages? While most food and beverages are under the regulation of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), alcohol falls under the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.

Some alcoholic beverages may contain nut flavorings. These beverages are not currently regulated by the labeling laws therefore it may be necessary to call the manufacturer to determine the safety of ingredients such as natural flavoring. As of right now, major food allergens can voluntarily be listed for wines, distilled spirits, and malt beverages, but again, this is only voluntary.
So while your yummy bottled coffee drink will likely have a label listing nutritional value as well as the ingredients, including common allergens, your alcoholic beverage will not likely have this labelling. Some producers list ingredients of their alcoholic beverages on their website, but this is not a requirement.
Another tip to keep you safe is to be aware of cross contamination of mixed drinks served at bars. A good general tip is to skip the garnish. One garnish in particular that can be troublesome for those with nut allergies is maraschino cherries. These are often processed or flavored with almond extract.
For reference purposes, here’s a quick list of some common alcoholic beverages that contain nuts or nut extracts. This list is by no means comprehensive. Keep in mind, things can and do change, so contacting the producer is still your best bet.

  • Amaretto
  • Creme de noyaux
  • Creme de noix
  • Frangelico
  • Galliano
  • Kahana Royale
  • Nocello
  • Beefeater
  • Bombay Sapphire
  • Harp Lager
  • Phillips Dirty Squirrel
  • Southern Comfort
  • Eblana
  • Nocino

It is a good idea to check producers’ websites whenever possible, and if you don’t see the information you need listed, call or email them. Most producers would much prefer you contact them and err on the side of safety when consuming their products. Lastly, make sure you keep your auto injectable epinephrine handy at all times.

Be safe and enjoy the holidays responsibly!

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