In Brief

Why Your Moscow Mule Drink May Be Hazardous

Two Moscow mule cocktails in copper mugs.
(Image credit: Elena Veselova/Shutterstock)

Your Moscow mule cocktail may look pretty in a copper mug, but officials in Iowa say that using copper containers for this beverage, and similar drinks, could be hazardous for your health.

Recently, Iowa's Alcoholic Beverages Division issued an advisory stating that pure copper mugs should not be used to serve Moscow mules or other acidic beverages with a pH below 6.0, including fruit juices, vinegar and wine. Traditionally, Moscow mules contain vodka, ginger beer and lime and have a pH well below 6.0, the advisory said.

When copper comes into contact with acidic foods and beverages, copper may leach into the food or drink. Ingesting too much copper can lead to copper poisoning, the advisory said. Symptoms of copper poisoning include abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting and jaundice, or a yellowing of the skin, according to the National Institutes of Health. [Top 7 Germs in Food that Make You Sick]

The Alcoholic Beverages Division said it issued the advisory because of the recent rise in popularity of Moscow mules, which has led to questions about the safety of copper containers for this beverage.

But Moscow mule enthusiasts need not despair — you can still use a mug with a copper exterior, as long as the interior is lined with a different metal, such as nickel or stainless steel. Mugs with these interiors are safe containers for the cocktail, and are widely available, the advisory said.

Original article on Live Science.

Rachael Rettner

Rachael is a Live Science contributor, and was a former channel editor and senior writer for Live Science between 2010 and 2022. She has a master's degree in journalism from New York University's Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program. She also holds a B.S. in molecular biology and an M.S. in biology from the University of California, San Diego. Her work has appeared in Scienceline, The Washington Post and Scientific American.