Should you worry about drinking Moscow Mules in unlined copper mugs?

No.

Although no scientific studies have been published, it is believed that acidic drinks (Moscow mule cocktails are acidic) may accelerate the transfer of copper into the liquid they hold. 

According to Trisha Andrewassistant professor of chemistry and chemical engineering at UMass Amherst, “you would have to let the copper mug sit in straight lime juice [significantly more acidic than a Moscow mule] for a few hours before you can even start to begin to worry about [copper poisoning].  Besides, the nasty metallic taste would stop you from continuing to drink your beverage.  She explains further, “even if you’re nursing the drink all night, “based on dissolution rates, it’s just nonsensical.”

These classic beauties received some unfair bad press recently.  Andrew called it “chemophobic fear-mongering.”  Read about it here.

To err on the side of caution, it is recommended that you do not allow acidic drinks to sit in them for extended periods and that they are washed soon after each use to prevent tarnish.

They get our vote!

These are the copper mugs that we love most.  Authentic, real, timeless, but also a bit high-maintenance…

Why we love them

Unlined pure copper mugs boast the honor of being the most highly conductive of all copper mug versions.  Made of 100% solid copper, with no inner lining, they keep your drinks arctic cold and transfer that cold crisp feeling to your hands and lips so splendidly.  It’s no surprise that they caused sensation in the 1940s Los Angeles scene when the Moscow Mule was first created.  There is simply no better conductor of temperature than pure copper.  Period.

They require a certain type of owner

Like most refined objects, unlined copper mugs are not for everyone.  They require a certain type of owner, an owner who is willing to put in a little extra work to keep these mugs in top shape.  They also need an owner who values authenticity and artisanal work… an owner who understands copper!

Why they require special care

COPPER PATINA

Pure copper develops a rich patina when exposed to liquids and moisture in the air.  In other words, it tarnishes.  This is best avoided by washing and drying the mugs soon after use.  But even then, some spots may develop here and there.  While these spots can easily and quickly be removed, not everyone is willing to invest the time and effort. And, not everyone understands this characteristic of copper.

Let's recap

PROs

  • Best suited for people who are willing to care for artisanal objects.
  • They are the original Moscow mule mugs.
  • They keep drinks way colder!
  • They have lacquer on the outside, so they will remain bright & shiny.
  • They are timeless copper vessels, used for thousands of years.
  • With proper maintenance will last a lifetime.

CONs

  • They should be washed and dried relatively soon after each use.
  • Periodic tarnish removal may be required.
  • Acidic drinks should not sit in them for extended periods.
  • Higher price point than copper-plated stainless-steel mugs.
Urban Vintage LA Shop Now Button

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published