Part of the fun of ordering a fancy cocktail is seeing what kind of fancy presentation it comes in. And as the Moscow mule lovers out there will attest, ordering one of these Russian-inspired (but Hollywood created) beverages usually comes in a pretty, copper cup.
Well as it turns out, that copper cup could actually be poisoning us, which makes it no fun to drink at all.
That’s at least the word from the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division this week. Health officials from the organization decided to look into the effects of copper when mixed with food and drink, and they found that beverages poured into a copper cup with a pH balance of less than six could result in food or copper poisoning. Sadly, ginger beer, vodka and lime juice — the traditional ingredients that go into a Moscow Mule — all fall into that acidic category.
Furthermore, the organization stated that beverages like wine, vinegar and fruit juice can also lead to poisoning when mixed with copper as the copper leaches into them, which can potentially be transferred to the body. Symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting and even jaundice — when your skin or eye whites turn yellow — can follow.
So why were we putting Moscow Mules into copper mugs in the first place? Well supposedly, when the lime and ginger beer hit that copper, the chemical reaction makes the lime’s acidity and the ginger beer’s carbonation even more pronounced.
So what’s a cocktail-loving guy or gal to do?
Luckily, copper mugs that are lined with a non-harmful substance, like stainless steel, are okay to drink from, which means we can still order drinks in fun cups after all. Okay sure, maybe it won’t taste as acidic or bubbly, but when you consider the puking alternative, we think we’re good with that.
Cheers to science, y’all.