Across the United States, people have been falling in love with the drink known as the Moscow Mule. Made by combining lime juice, vodka, and ginger beer, the Moscow Mule is a fairly standard cocktail that provides tremendous flavor in a simple package. Or is the package so simple after all? One of the most defining characteristics of the Moscow Mule is the copper mug in which many establishments choose to serve the beverage. Although doubts abound as to the necessity of the copper mug, many Moscow Mule enthusiasts feel that the drink simply is not correct unless served in this fancy receptacle. All that might change after an advisory from Iowa’s Food and Drug Administration.
The official report from Iowa’s FDA indicates that the Model Food Code employed by the state prohibits the use of copper coming into contact with any food that possess a ph level lower than 6.0. The combination of lime juice and ginger beer found in the drink apparently causes the alkalinity of the Moscow Mule to plummet, pulling the ph level far below that of 6.0.
The problem with this is that when a high-acidity food (or drink) comes into contact with a copper surface, the copper begins to degrade and leach its chemicals into the food (or drink) itself. In the case of the Moscow Mule, the copper mug could potentially add a secret and poisonous fourth ingredient to your otherwise highly refreshing cocktail.
While small doses of copper do not cause much of a problem to humans when ingested, it is well documented that higher concentrations can begin to result in health problems including food poisoning and other illnesses. This is something to consider when out on the town with friends and deciding upon which drink—or drinks— to consume.
Thankfully, the findings from the Iowa FDA do not indict Moscow Mules completely. As long as the Mule is either served in a glass or in a mug with a nickel or steel lining, the consumer is safe from the harmful effects of the copper. This is a consideration worth bringing to the bar the next time you find yourself ordering a Moscow Mule.
James O. Cunningham
Since 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.
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