Moscow Mules Copper Mugs are Dangerous

Home Moscow Mules Copper Mugs are Dangerous

August 9, 2017


The Moscow mule, the cocktail that has surged in popularity, has simple ingredients that include vodka, ginger beer, lime and ice. But the key component to this cocktail is it being served in a copper mug. But that fun part of a Moscow mule has public health officials offering a warning that those types of mugs could be poisoning you.

Iowa’s Alcoholic Beverages Division examined what happens when copper mixes with food, and the results weren’t so great. In keeping with Food and Drug Administration guidelinescopper should not come into contact with acidic foods with a pH below 6. That includes vinegar, fruit juice, wine and, a traditional Moscow mule, which has a pH well below 6.0. The advisory bulletin warns that “when copper and copper alloy surfaces contact acidic foods, copper may be leached into the food,” the division notes.

The state health officials concluded that using the signature mug for alcoholic beverages, or any food or liquid with a pH balance of below 6, could result in food poisoning or copper poisoning. Symptoms of copper poisoning include abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting and jaundice.  According to the National Institutes of Health, “Sudden (acute) copper poisoning is rare, however, serious health problems from long-term exposure to copper can occur. Severe poisoning can cause liver failure and death.” It is common knowledge with chefs not to use copper (or copper-plated) pots and pans for acidic recipes for health reasons, but also for the ways in which “reactive” cookware can alter the flavor of a recipe. 
For the Moscow mule enthusiasts, it is recommended to make sure your cocktail is served in copper mugs lined on the inside with another metal, such as nickel or stainless steel. The silver lining mug may not be as authentic as a copper mug, but it is better to be safe and not to consume harmful poison. Cheers!

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