February 19, 2018

Moscow mule copper mugs may be toxic, officials say

10 August 2017, 12:29 | Darrell Baldwin

Iowa Issues Warning to Cocktail Drinkers

Moscow Mule Copper Mug May Cause Food Poisoning

The simple cocktail requires only vodka, lime juice and ginger beer along with garnish which can either be a lime slice or mint leaves.

You've probably seen copper mugs in bars around the country as a resurgence of the classic cocktail known a Moscow mule has captured drinkers in the U.S. Foods that are acidic (pH lower than 6.0) can corrode the copper and cause the metal alloys to mix in the food or liquids.

The Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division recently issued an advisory bulletin to establishments that sell and serve alcoholic beverages, warning them not to use copper mugs.

A Moscow Mule cocktail served up in a copper mug.

Folks might not think about the pH level of their Moscow Mule or other beverages when serving drinks in fancy copper cups, but since the Moscow Mule has a pH level well below 6.0, the copper mug should be avoided.

"When copper and copper alloy surfaces contact acidic foods, copper may be leached into the food", health officials stated. The US National Library of Medicine notes, "large amounts of copper from unlined cookware can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea". That means drinks like wine, vinegar, and fruit juices also should not be served in copper mugs either.

"In poisonings from a long-term buildup of copper in the body, the outcome depends on how much damage there is to the body's organs", the NIH said.

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