This article originally appeared on Brit+Co on August 10, 2017. You can read it in its original form here.
If you love Moscow Mules, you might want to rethink that traditional copper cup. We know, we know, it’s really cute (and doesn’t your mule just TASTE better in a copper cup??). But it might actually be poisonous: Iowa’s Alcoholic Beverages Division issued an advisory stating that copper cups pose a health risk when they come into contact with beverages with a low pH — and Mule cocktail recipes most certainly do. Here’s what you need to know.
Copper, along with some other materials, such as aluminum, iron, and non-stainless steel, is considered a “reactive” metal. In fact, most chefs know not to cook acidic foods such as tomato sauces in copper pots and pans for exactly this reason.
When copper comes into contact with acidic materials (such as fruit juices, wine, lime, and your mule) the copper transfers into the food or beverage itself. And while a little copper isn’t a big deal, it is most certainly possible to experience copper poisoning.
While it stands to reason that one drink from a copper mug isn’t going to kill you, long-term exposure to copper can cause a lot of serious problems, including vomiting, jaundice, low blood pressure, and liver problems.
So what’s a Moscow Mule lover to do? It’s simple — drink your Mule from a good, old-fashioned glass, or at least from a stainless steel mug that’s been painted copper on the outside. You’ll be able to tell if this is the case because your cup will be silver-toned on the inner rim. Problem solved!
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