Knowing Countries Where Absinthe is Legal

There are many countries where Absinthe is legal to acquire, 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 most countries it is no longer a criminal offense to distill Absinthe or against the law to sell it.

Absinthe is actually a herbal liquor that has an anise taste. It usually is served diluted with iced water, which then causes the famous louche effect, and was a popular beverage during the nineteenth century. It had been made illegal in many countries at the outset of the twentieth century as a result of concerns concerning the chemical thujone found in wormwood. Not only was Absinthe an intoxicant, like every alcohol based drinks including wine, beer and cider, but it has also been considered to be an hallucinogen.

The medical profession and prohibitionists believed that Absinthe contained huge amounts of thujone which they alleged was psychoactive, like THC in the drug cannabis, and may cause psychedelic effects We now know that Absinthe only contains small quantities of thujone and is equally as safe just like any strong spirit. It could however give you a totally different kind of drunkenness, if consumed excessively. The alcohol and the unique mixture of herbs combine to act as both a sedative as well as a stimulant – very strange. Many people have described it as a “lucid” or “clear headed” drunkenness.

Countries where Absinthe is legal consist of:-

United States – Absinthe was banned in 1912 however in 2007 a couple of brands of Absinthe were approved in the US for their very low thujone content. The USA only permits “thujone free” beverages to be distributed but Absinthes with fewer 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 but there is a regulation relating to thujone content in drinks in the EU. Up to 10mg/kg of thujone is allowed in alcohol with over 25% alcohol by volume, and up to 35mg/kg in alcohol marked “bitters”.

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

Brazil – Brazilian law enables Absinthe up to 10mg/kg thujone and that it must have less than 55% abv.

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

Czech Republic – Absinthe never was banned in the Czech Republic.

France – France notoriously banned Absinthe in 1915. French law of 1988 permits thujone beverages to be sold if they abide by EU laws and if they are really tagged “spiritueux à base de plantes d’absinthe” instead of Absinthe link. France has also regulations concerning fenchone which is present in fennel, a vital ingredient of Absinthe, so beverages also have to have low fenchone contents (approximately 5mg/liter).

Hungary – Absinthe turned legal in 2004.

Israel – Absinthe is apparently legal and also on sale in Israel.

Ireland – Absinthe containing thujone is prohibited to buy and sell but could be brought in for private consumption.

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

New Zealand – Absinthe is legitimate.

Portugal – Absinthe was not ever banned.

Russia – High thujone Absinthes (approximately 75mg/kg thujone) are available in Russia.

Serbia – Serbia does not seem to allow Absinthe containing thujone or over 50% abv to be marketed.

South Africa – Absinthe is legal since 2005.

Sweden – Absinthe complying with EU legislation might 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 comply with EU legislation.

As you can see there are numerous countries where Absinthe is legal and will be enjoyed. You might want to create your own Absinthe using Absinthe essences from These essences produce a true Absinthe and might be shipped worldwide. They just don’t require distillation, that has been done for you, and are generally perfectly legal. Check them out.