Martinis are served in martini glasses, Highballs in highball glasses, Tom Collins in collins glasses, and Moscow Mules in hammered copper mugs. You just had to be different, didn’t you, you Russian pack animal. (Here’s what your choice of alcoholic beverage says about you, by the way.)
This is how things go in the world of cocktails; these traditions govern the craft. If said rules are broken, next thing you know people will be putting an even number of olives in martinis and the whole world will fall to ruin. (Do you know the history behind the martini?) But one of the four cocktails listed above may need to choose a new vessel, because its current one may be poisoning its imbibers.
(Meanwhile, this beer is actually good for you.)
According to the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division, copper is definitely be leaching into your Moscow Mule, if it’s made properly.
See, in plenty of instances, copper food ware is perfectly safe, depending on what you’re eating. Things get tricky, however, when you start consuming more acidic foods. When copper comes in contact with something with a pH below 6.0, the copper or copper alloy present in the food ware can start to degrade and add a little something extra to your favorite nightcap.
And it just so happens that the Moscow Mule is a sub-six pH ticking time bomb. Every single ingredient in the Moscow Mule—save for the ice—is acidic. The lime juice has a pH around two, the ginger beer is somewhere below four, even the vodka can be below six, depending on what brand you’re drinking (usually if it’s well vodka, it’s more acidic).
Copper poisoning can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and upset stomach. To avoid this, be sure to check with your bartender about the inner lining of their mule mugs; frequently, the interior will be lined with another metal, keeping you safe from the risk.
Not really feeling the Moscow Mule after hearing this? Try one of these summer cocktails.
So, what cocktail can you drink out of the mule mug?