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Drinking Moscow mules out of those copper mugs may cause health issues, report says

The Moscow Mule, made with vodka, ginger beer and lime juice, has been traditionally served in a copper cup. But now health concerns due to the metal mixing in with the liquid may end the practice. [SCOTT KEELER  |  TIMES]
The Moscow Mule, made with vodka, ginger beer and lime juice, has been traditionally served in a copper cup. But now health concerns due to the metal mixing in with the liquid may end the practice. [SCOTT KEELER | TIMES]
Published Aug. 9, 2017

No alcoholic drink may be more recognizable than the Moscow mule, and often it has nothing to do with the actual drink.

It's the shiny copper mug in which the cocktail is typically served.

But now, the trendy metal mug's days may be numbered due to newly released health concerns.

According to an advisory bulletin published late last month from the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division, copper mugs may be poisoning drinkers.

In the advisory, health officials note that, in abiding by FDA guidelines, copper should not come into contact with acidic foods that have a pH below 6.

The traditional Moscow mule consists of vodka, ginger beer and lime juice, which, according to officials, comes in "well below 6.0." Examples of foods with a pH below 6 also include vinegar, fruit juice and wine, according to the notice.

"High concentrations of copper are poisonous and have caused food borne illness," the bulletin said. "When copper and copper alloy surfaces contact acidic foods, copper may be leached into the food."

Symptoms of copper poisoning include abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea and jaundice, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

The notice, however, provides something of a silver lining.

It says copper mugs with an inner lining of another metal, such as nickel or stainless steel, are safe to use and are widely available.

So not all hope is lost.

Contact Samantha Putterman at sputterman@tampabay.com Follow her on Twitter @samputterman.