It's one of the most popular drinks in the Treasure Valley, but is it secretly dangerous to ingest?

Full disclosure: Drinking a Moscow Mule isn't harmful in itself. What's in question is: Is it safe to drink one from those copper mugs?

The FDA's Food Code reads as follows:

Copper and copper alloys such as brass may not be used in contact with a food that has a pH below 6 such as vinegar, fruit juice, or wine.

On average, the pH level of your typical Moscow Mule will highly likely be below six, meaning that copper from the mug could potentially end up in your drink, ergo it could end up inside your body. Which isn't good. According to Wikipedia, ingesting too much copper can lead to:

  • Vomiting,
  • Hematemesis (vomiting of blood)
  • Hypotension (low blood pressure)
  • Melena (black "tarry" feces)
  • Coma
  • Jaundice (yellowish pigmentation of the skin)
  • Gastrointestinal distress

Long-term effects include permanent damage to the liver and kidneys.

Luckily, most mugs used to serve a Moscow Mule are lined with another metal such as nickel or stainless steel, and are perfectly safe. To er on the side of caution, it wouldn't hurt to check the label before you purchase copper mugs, or ask your favorite watering hole if the mugs they use are indeed safe.

 

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