VERIFY | Are copper cups used for Moscow Mules poisonous?

Verify: Could you be poisoned by drinking Moscow Mule out of copper cup?

The claim: Drinking a Moscow Mule out of a copper cup will lead to copper poisoning.

It all stems from an advisory released by the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division reminding establishments of federal guidelines that copper cups may not be used with drinks that have a PH lower than six because there's potential for the copper to leach into the drink. 

MetroHealth emergency medicine physician Dr. Tom Collins says that there's some missing context. "It's taking something meant to protect us and misinterpreting it a little bit," he explains.

The acidic lime juice in a Moscow Mule does have a PH lower than six but Collins says leaching takes time. "The take home message from this is: Don't store anything especially acidic in anything copper for a prolonged period of time."

Mixologist Will Hollingsworth owns The Spotted Owl in Tremont. He's served his fair share of Moscow Mules. 

Is he concerned about copper poisoning? "If you have six Moscow Mules, your stomach may bother you a little because you've had a lot of sugar," Hollingsworth chuckled when asked.

"If you're getting sick from drinking Moscow Mules, it's highly highly unlikely it's from the copper," Dr. Collins adds.

More likely from the hangover. If you're still concerned, order your drink in a glass. Or you can order it in either a stainless-steel, or nickel-lined mug. 

So will drinking a Moscow Mule out of a copper cup lead to copper poisoning? 

"It's not true," says Dr. Collins. "The thing you have to realize is that anything in excess can make you sick. Drink responsibly...and I hear Tom Collins' are pretty good," he deadpanned. 

And that's Verified.

VERIFY: Sources

  • Dr. Tom Collins, MetroHealth emergency medicine physician
  • Will Hollingsworth, Mixologist and owner of The Spotted Owl in Tremont

 

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