Should you be worried about enjoying your refreshing ice cold Moscow Mule served in a copper mug?  Probably not, here’s why:

The Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division recently issued a bulletin warning people of the dangers of copper mugs.The concern allegedly stems from chemistry. The FDA’s Model Food Code prohibits food that a pH of less than 6.0 to come into direct contact with copper. Wine, fruit juice, and vinegar all have a pH of less than 6.0.

So acidic ingredients from a Moscow Mule (traditionally vodka, lime juice and ginger beer) can make copper seep into the substances. Trisha Andrew, assistant professor of chemistry claims, the press release to be "chemophobic fear-mongering.”

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Andrew states that “anytime you have any liquid in contact with a surface, there’s a possibility that the container is going to be dissolved a little bit into the fluid, But when you have a metal container, like copper ― which is a slightly more dissolvable than other metals ― it happens more quickly.”

Andrews explains that when copper is dissolved, it is no longer copper in its metallic state, but it’s a copper(II) or copper(I). Humans need a small amount of copper(II) to survive in their regular biochemical function and aid our chemical structure. In our previous blog post “Drinking Proper with Copper” we outline the health benefits as a result of copper (II).

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30 milligrams of copper per liter can be known to cause nausea. The question is, however, over the duration of time that a Moscow Mule sits in a copper mug, is that enough time and acidity to leach out 30 milligrams of copper per liter? Andrews states that “even if you drink a liter of Moscow mules from pure copper mugs you wouldn’t even come close to reaching that 30-milligram limit.

So no need to worry, keep on mixing, and enjoying your Mules.

See below for a simple and crisp Moscow Mule recipe.

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Broken Shed Moscow Mule

1/2 oz. lime juice
2 oz. Broken Shed Vodka
6 oz. ginger beer

Simply squeeze the lime juice into a copper mug. Then add 2 or 3 ice cubes, pour in the Broken Shed vodka and fill with cold ginger beer. Stir and serve!
 

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