Data on the age at which it is considered permissible to start drinking alcoholic beverages in Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden with peers and with family are analyzed and compared with similar data from California, Mexico, the Netherlands, Ontario, Scotland and Zambia. Of the Swedish population, 63% felt that drinking should be permitted for a 16-year-old girl whereas only 5% of the Zambian population felt similarly. The egalitarian sex norms in industrial countries contrast with the normative expectations in Zambia and Mexico, where the sex of the drinker has a considerable impact on the responses. By international comparison, the current norms about drinking by youth in Scandinavia are quite permissive. This permissiveness is of recent origin, and older age groups are still much less permissive. The normative distance between drinking with peers and with the family is used as an indicator of the integration of drinking with family life. Compared with older respondents, younger respondents accept drinking with the family at a clearly lower age than drinking with peers. Drinking per se is no longer associated with independence, and alcoholic beverages may be becoming culturally integrated with family life in Scandinavia.