There are many countries where Absinthe is legal to buy, 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 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. It was declared as illigal in many countries at the beginning of the 20th century due to suspected neuronal effects of chemical thujone found in wormwood. Not only was Absinthe an intoxicant, like all alcoholic beverages but it was also thought to be an hallucinogen.
Absinthe was perceived to contain large amounts of thujone which it’s denouncers alleged that it is psychoactive, like THC in the drug cannabis, and could cause psychedelic effects. We now have evidence that Absinthe contains small amounts of thujone and is equivalent to any other 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 is legal include:-
United States – Absinthe was banned in 1912 but in 2007 a few brands of Absinthe were approved in the US because of their low thujone content. 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 – Absinthe was legalized in the EU in 1988 with restriction in thujone content. Up to 10mg/kg of thujone is permitted 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 content of up to 35mg/kg and other beverages can contain up to 10mg/kg.
Brazil – Absinthe is legal but should not have over 10mg/kg thujone and that it should have less than 55% abv.
Canada – From March 2007 separate Canadian province liquor boards regulate thujone. Many provinces mark thujone containing alcohol to be sold as illigal however Absinthe is legal in British Columbia, where there is no limit, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Quebec. Quebec and Ontario legislature states that Absinthe containing less that or equal to 10mg/kg thujone can be legally sold.
Czech Republic – sale and distribution of Absinthe was always legal.
France – Banned Absinthe in 1915 after a lot of publicity. French law that came in effect in 1988 allows thujone beverages to be sold if they comply with EU laws and 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 got legal status in 2004.
Israel – Absinthe is legal and on sale in Israel.
Ireland – Absinthe is illegal to buy and sell but can be imported from other countries for personal consumption.
Netherlands – Absinthe was made legal in 2004 after being banned in 1909. Absinthe should necessarily meet EU requirements.
New Zealand – It is legal.
Portugal – Absinthe was never banned by the law.
Russia – It is legal to sell High thujone Absinthes (up to 75mg/kg thujone) in Russia.
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 if complying with EU guidelines, then it can be sold as long as the label denotes wormwood. The Absinthe kit site is located in Sweden.
Switzerland – Absinthe was legalised in 2005 after banning it in 1908.
UK – It was never banned Absinthe. Absinthe must be in accordance with EU legislation.
As you can see there are a number of countries where Absinthe is legal. You may want to make your own Absinthe using Absinthe essences from AbsintheKit.com. These essences are used for making authentic Absinthe and can be shipped world wide. They do not require distillation, that has already been done for you, and so are perfectly legal. Check these out.