There are lots of countries where Absinthe is legal to purchase, sell and consume. Gone are the times of bootleg or clandestine Absinthe, when it must be distilled in secrecy, shipped from other countries or branded diversely. In many countries it’s no longer a crime to distill Absinthe or against the law to promote it.
Absinthe is actually a herbal liquor which has an anise taste. It usually is served diluted with iced water, which causes the famous louche effect, and was a popular beverage from the nineteenth century. It was made illegal in many countries at the beginning of the 20th century because of concerns concerning the chemical thujone found in wormwood. Not only was Absinthe an intoxicant, like all alcohol based drinks including wine, beer and cider, but it was also considered to be an hallucinogen.
The medical profession and prohibitionists claimed that Absinthe contained considerable amounts of thujone which they alleged was psychoactive, like THC from the drug cannabis, and could cause psychedelic effects seltzer beverage. We now know that Absinthe only is made up of small quantities of thujone and is also equally as safe as any strong spirit. It may however offer you a totally different type of drunkenness, if consumed in excess. The alcohol as well as the unique mixture of herbs combine to behave as both a sedative and a stimulant – very strange. Some people have described it as being a “lucid” or “clear headed” drunkenness.
Countries where Absinthe is legal include:-
United States – Absinthe was forbidden in 1912 however in 2007 a number of brands of Absinthe were approved in the US because of their minimal thujone content. The USA only allows “thujone free” beverages to be marketed but Absinthes with fewer than 10 ppm of thujone (below 10mg per liter) count as thujone free.
The EU (European Union) – Absinthe was legalized in the EU in 1988 but there’s a regulation regarding thujone content in drinks in the EU. Up to 10mg/kg of thujone is authorized in alcohol exceeding 25% alcohol by volume, and up to 35mg/kg in alcohol labeled “bitters”.
Australia – Absinthe is legal. Bitters could have a thujone content up to 35mg/kg along with other beverages can contain approximately 10mg/kg.
Brazil – Brazilian law allows Absinthe of up to 10mg/kg thujone and that it should have less than 55% abv.
Canada – From March 2007 it has been up to the separate Canadian province liquor boards to modify thujone. Numerous provinces don’t allow any thujone containing alcohol to be distributed but Absinthe is legal in British Columbia, where there is no limit, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Quebec. Quebec and Ontario legislate that Absinthe with up to 10mg/kg thujone will be legally sold.
Czech Republic – Absinthe never was restricted within the Czech Republic.
France – France notoriously banned Absinthe in 1915. French law of 1988 enables thujone beverages to be sold if they comply with EU laws and if they are really tagged “spiritueux Ã base de plantes d’absinthe” and not Absinthe related site. France also has regulations concerning fenchone that is found in fennel, a key ingredient of Absinthe, so beverages must also have low fenchone contents (approximately 5mg/liter).
Hungary – Absinthe turned out to be legal in 2004.
Israel – Absinthe is apparently legal and on sale in Israel.
Ireland – Absinthe containing thujone is illegal to buy and sell but could be imported for private consumption.
Netherlands – Absinthe was made legitimate in 2004 after being prohibited in 1909. Absinthe must fulfill EU requirements.
New Zealand – Absinthe is legitimate.
Portugal – Absinthe never was suspended.
Russia – Substantial thujone Absinthes (as much as 75mg/kg thujone) can be bought in Russia.
Serbia – Serbia doesn’t seem to allow Absinthe containing thujone or higher 50% abv to be marketed.
South Africa – Absinthe is authorized since 2005.
Sweden – Absinthe complying with EU legislation could be sold and is tagged as comprising wormwood.
Switzerland – The home of Absinthe legalized Absinthe in 2005 after banning it in 1908.
UK – The UK never prohibited Absinthe. Absinthe must abide by EU legislation.
As you can see there are lots of countries where Absinthe is legal and will be enjoyed. You may want to build your own Absinthe using Absinthe essences from AbsintheKit.com. These essences come up with a true Absinthe and can be shipped world wide. They just don’t require distillation, which has been done for you, and tend to be perfectly legal. Have a look.