There are many countries where Absinthe is legal to buy, sell and consume. Gone are the times when Absinthe was clandestine, when it had to be distilled in secrecy, shipped from other countries or labeled differently. In most countries it is not a crime now to distill Absinthe.
Absinthe is a herbal liquor which has an anise taste. It is usually served diluted with iced water, which causes the famous louche effect, and was a popular beverage in the 19th century. Most nations banned it at the beginning of the 20th century because of concerns about the chemical thujone found in wormwood. Not only was Absinthe an intoxicant, like all alcohol containing drink, but it was also thought to give hallucination to its users.
Absinthe contained large amounts of thujone as per medical professionals of eighteenth century which 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 just as safe as any strong spirit. It may however give you a distinct kind of drunkenness, if consumed in excess. The alcohol and the unique blend of herbs combine to act as both a sedative and a stimulant – very strange. Some people in the past have described it as a “lucid” or “clear headed” drunkenness.
Countries where Absinthe enjoys a legal status include:-
United States – Absinthe was banned in 1912 but in 2007 a few brands of Absinthe were approved in the US. The USA only allows “thujone free” beverages to be sold but Absinthes with less than 10 parts per million of thujone (less than 10mg per liter) count as thujone free.
The EU (European Union) – Absinthe was legalized in the EU in 1988 however content of thujone is restricted. Up to 10mg/kg of thujone is allowed in alcohol with more than 25% alcohol by volume, and up to 35mg/kg in alcohol labeled “bitters”.
Australia – Absinthe drinking is legal. Bitters can have a thujone not more than 35mg/kg and other beverages can contain up to 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 is as per discretion of separate Canadian province liquor boards to regulate thujone. Quite a few provinces do not allow any thujone containing alcohol to be sold 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 can be legally sold.
Czech Republic – Absinthe was always legal.
France – Banned Absinthe in 1915. French law of 1988 allowed thujone beverage sale and distribution if they are labeled “spiritueux à base de plantes d’absinthe” and not Absinthe. French government also has strict regulations to regulate fenchone which is found in fennel, and an important constituent of Absinthe, hence beverages should have fenchone less than 5mg/liter.
Hungary – Absinthe is legal.
Israel – Absinthe enjoys a legal status in Israel.
Ireland – Absinthe which contains thujone is illegal to buy and sell but can be imported for personal consumption.
Netherlands – Absinthe was made legal in 2004. Absinthe must meet EU requirements.
New Zealand – The drink is legal.
Portugal – Absinthe was never banned by the law.
Russia – In Russian market High thujone Absinthes (up to 75mg/kg thujone) are available.
Serbia – Serbia does not seem to allow Absinthe containing thujone or above 50% abv to be sold.
South Africa – Absinthe is legal as of 2005.
Sweden – Absinthe made under EU guidelines can be distributed freely as long as the label denotes wormwood. The Absinthe kit site is located in Sweden.
Switzerland – The home of Absinthe legalized Absinthe in 2005 after banning it in 1908.
UK – It was never banned Absinthe. Absinthe should always comply with EU legislation.
As you can see there are many countries where Absinthe is legal and can be enjoyed. You may want to make your own Absinthe using Absinthe essences from AbsintheKit.com. These essences are used for making authentic quality Absinthe that is supplied across the globe. They do not require distillation, that has already been done for you, and so are perfectly legal. Check them out.