Being familiar with Countries Where Absinthe is Legal

There are many countries where Absinthe is legal to obtain, sell and consume. Gone are the times of bootleg or clandestine Absinthe, when it had to be distilled in secrecy, shipped from other countries or marked diversely. In many countries it is no longer an offense to distill Absinthe or unlawful to promote it.

Absinthe is a herbal liquor which has an anise taste. It’s usually served diluted with iced water, that can cause the famous louche effect, and was a popular beverage during the 19th century. It had been made illegal in several countries at the outset of the 20th century due to concerns about the chemical thujone present in wormwood. Not just was Absinthe an intoxicant, like all alcohol based drinks including wine, beer and cider, but it has also been thought to be an hallucinogen.

The medical profession and prohibitionists believed that Absinthe contained considerable amounts of thujone that they alleged was psychoactive, like THC in the drug cannabis, and could cause psychedelic effects. We now know that Absinthe only contains small amounts of thujone and is also just as safe as any strong spirit. It may however provide you with a completely different form of drunkenness, if consumed in excess. The alcohol and the unique blend of herbs combine to behave as both a sedative plus a stimulant – very strange. Some individuals have described it as a “lucid” or “clear headed” drunkenness.

Countries where Absinthe is legal include:-

United States – Absinthe was restricted in 1912 but in 2007 a few brands of Absinthe were approved in the US due to their minimal thujone content. The USA only allows “thujone free” beverages to be sold but Absinthes with fewer than 10 parts per million of thujone (a lot less than 10mg per liter) count as thujone free.

The EU (European Union) – Absinthe was legalized within the EU in 1988 but there’s a regulation relating to thujone content in drinks in the EU. Approximately 10mg/kg of thujone is permitted in alcohol with more than 25% alcohol by volume, and up to 35mg/kg in alcohol marked “bitters”.

Australia – Absinthe is legal. Bitters can have a thujone content of up to 35mg/kg as well as other beverages can contain as much as 10mg/kg.

Brazil – Brazilian law allows Absinthe as high as 10mg/kg thujone and that it must have lower than 55% abv.

Canada – From March 2007 it has been up to the independent Canadian province liquor boards to modify thujone. Many provinces don’t allow any thujone containing alcohol to be sold but Absinthe is legal in British Columbia, where there is certainly no limit, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Quebec. Quebec and Ontario legislate that Absinthe with up to 10mg/kg thujone can be legally sold.

Czech Republic – Absinthe never was restricted within the Czech Republic.

France – France famously suspended Absinthe in 1915. French law of 1988 enables thujone beverages to be distributed if they comply with EU laws and if they are tagged “spiritueux à base de plantes d’absinthe” instead of Absinthe. France has also regulations regarding fenchone which is seen in fennel, a key ingredient of Absinthe, so beverages must also have low fenchone contents (up to 5mg/liter).

Hungary – Absinthe became legal in 2004.

Israel – Absinthe is apparently legal as well as on sale in Israel.

Ireland – Absinthe that contains thujone is unlawful to buy and sell but can be brought in for private consumption.

Netherlands – Absinthe was made legitimate in 2004 after being banned in 1909. Absinthe must satisfy EU requirements.

New Zealand – Absinthe is legal.

Portugal – Absinthe was never banned.

Russia – Substantial thujone Absinthes (as much as 75mg/kg thujone) can be found 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 may be sold and is tagged as containing wormwood.

Switzerland – The home of Absinthe legalized Absinthe in 2005 after banning it in 1908.

UK – The UK never banished Absinthe. Absinthe must abide by EU legislation.

Essentially there are many countries where Absinthe is legal and can be enjoyed. You might want to create your own Absinthe using Absinthe essences from These essences produce a true Absinthe and might be shipped world wide. They just don’t require distillation, which has already been prepared for you, and so are perfectly legal. Have a look.

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