The Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division has issued an advisory bulletin concerning copper mugs, which are increasingly being used to serve ‘Moscow Mule’ cocktails.  

The advisory cites the Food and Drug Administration’s Food Code which forbids copper to come in contact with foods that have a pH below 6.0. The Moscow Mule includes vodka, ginger beer and lime making it fall, as the bulletin says, “well below 6.0.”

“When copper and copper alloy surfaces contact acidic foods, copper may be leached into the food,” state the FDA guidelines. High concentrations of copper are poisonous and can cause foodborne illnesses. 

The reactive qualities of copper when used to cook acidic foods is well established, however new concerns have been raised over copper beverage receptacles due to the “recent rise in popularity of Moscow Mules,” said the advisory. The drink and copper mug have become a popular shared image on social media platforms. 

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Copper mugs that are lined on the interior with another metal (nickel or stainless steel) are allowed to be used. The advisory states that such mugs are ‘widely available’. 

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