Are copper mugs making Moscow Mule drinkers sick?

Posted at 5:48 PM, Aug 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-02 17:48:45-04

Moscow Mules have risen in popularity. It’s a cocktail drink made with vodka, lime juice, and ginger beer. It’s served in its signature copper mug. 

But federal guidelines state that copper should not come into contact with food or beverages with a pH balance below 6.

Copper is a heavy metal and can become toxic over a period of time. It leaches into food or drinks when it comes into direct contact with acidic foods below 6.0. 

High copper concentrations are poisonous. They can cause food borne illness. Not only should Moscow Mules not be served in a copper mug, but neither should fruit juice, vinegar or wine as well.

You don’t have to give up Moscow Mules, there is another way to enjoy this cocktail so here are my prescriptions:

  1. You can still use a copper mug, but make sure the interior lining is another material like nickel or stainless steel.
  2. Copper mugs can be bought online. Avoid ones that promote 100% copper and read the product details to make sure it does not have a copper interior.
  3. Always drink moderately. That means one drink for women and up to two drinks a day for men 65 and younger.
  4. If you think you have copper poisoning, please seek medical help immediately.  

Long term exposure of copper can cause lung inflammation and scarring which can affect how your lungs function. 

Symptoms range from a metallic taste in the mouth to anemia, diarrhea, muscle aches, pain, weakness, and yellow eyes or skin. You can experience liver or kidney failure. 

There is medicine to treat symptoms and reverse the effects of the poison, but the outcome from a long-term buildup of copper will depend on how much damage has been done your organs.