Copper Safety & Moscow Mules – are they really safe?

Moscow Mules and Copper Safety

Is it safe to drink a Moscow Mule out of a Copper Mug? (acidic drink from a potentially toxic metal cup).

The short answer: 

Yes.  Copper mugs are safe to drink from.  Most Moscow mule mugs (copper) are lined with another material which fully eliminates the concern of copper exposure. Even with an unlined mug, copper poisoning is only possible if there is a great amount of copper exposure to the body. Excessive copper exposure is unlikely  when having a Moscow mule or other cocktail out of a copper mug.

The long answer: 

In 2017 when the Iowa Alcoholic Beverage division issued an advisory about drinking from unlined, pure copper mugs, fear arose.  There is a difference between lined and unlined mugs when it comes to potential copper exposure.  Actual copper toxicity is highly unlikely no matter the cup.

Unlined Copper Mugs:

Acidic drinks with a pH lower than 6 can leach copper from the unlined copper mug into the  beverage.   The same goes for acidic foods stored in copper pans.  Recommendations are to NOT allow copper to contact food with this acidity level.  A Moscow mule falls into this category; both lime juice and ginger beer have a pH lower than 6.   Some states have banned unlined copper mug use, although not every state has.

Moscow mule mugs are generally considered safe.  To ensure safety purchase mugs lined with other metals such as nickel or stainless steel.  This will help to eliminate the copper from leaching into your drinks.   Copper toxicity symptoms only occur after ingesting 30 milligrams of copper per liter that had been sitting in an unlined, pure copper mug for hours.  You would need to consume a liter’s worth of Moscow mules that had been sitting in an unlined copper mug for several hours before copper poisoning is a possibility.

Long term exposure to the copper can cause nausea, diarrhea, headaches, dizziness or mouth, nose and eye irritation.  You may not be experiencing a hangover.

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