Published: Wed, August 09, 2017
Medicine | By Megan Pierce

Moscow mule copper mugs may be toxic, officials say

Moscow mule copper mugs may be toxic, officials say

Here's why copper and alcoholic beverages should not mix.

As The Washington Post reported this week, the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division released a bulletin late last month warning bartenders and restaurants against serving the popular cocktail in copper mugs, as is traditional.

The simple cocktail requires only vodka, lime juice and ginger beer along with garnish which can either be a lime slice or mint leaves. Examples of foods with a pH below 6 also include vinegar, fruit juice and wine, according to the notice.

According to the United States Food and Drug Administration, high concentrations of copper are poisonous and can cause foodborne illness if the copper it comes into contact with acidic foods. "When copper and copper allow surfaces contact acidic foods, copper may be leached into the food".

The acid that results from mixing water and carbon dioxide leaches copper from the plumbing components and the leachate is then transferred to beverages, causing copper poisoning.

Copper is commonly used for kitchenware like pots and pans, but it can be unsafe.

It's the shiny copper mug in which the cocktail is typically served.

Or, to be more exact, the copper cup that the drinks are traditionally served in might be. The statement said that those with inner linings that use a different metal such as stainless steel or nickel are safe to drink from. The problem is, you're not supposed to serve acidic beverages in mugs with a copper interior because it raises the risk of copper leaching into the drink.

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