Are Copper Mugs Poisoning You? Myth Busted!

Person drinking on a copper mug

Copper is a metal, and whenever you pour an acidic drink into a metal container, it will lead to a reaction. With copper mugs, if the drink’s acidic level is very high, it can sometimes corrode the copper lining inside, increasing the copper level and eventually poisoning the drink.

To finally end the debate on whether copper mugs are poisonous, we have summed up every piece of information you need to tackle this issue.

Are Drinks Consumed in Copper Mugs Safe?

Moscow mule with fresh lime on a copper mug

Drinking something that’s been lying inside a copper mug for more than 2 hours is not safe to consume. However, there are no credible sources that suggest how long you need to keep a drink in a copper vessel for the harmful reaction to occur. 

The Washington Post wrote an article about how Moscow mules served in copper mugs must be poisoning the consumers, but all the tests were done in drinks lying in a copper container for a long time.

What Does the Research Say?

IOWA’s Alcoholic Beverage Division suggested that copper as a metal should not contact any food with a pH level below 6. As per the guidelines, they mentioned that the traditional Moscow mule contains a pH level below 6. However, what’s not clear is the drink’s ideal duration to remain inside the copper mug.

An icy cold Moscow Mule is not acidic enough to break down the copper in a mug in high enough concentrations to make it poisonous. In an interview with Business Insider, food poisoning attorney Bill Marler said, “You'd have to drink from a copper cup every meal of every day for 25 years” to become affected.

Simply put, there is no need to worry about getting some vodka, a frosty copper mug, and a bottle of the best ginger beer for Moscow Mule.

Symptoms of Copper Poisoning

Different parts of the body that can experience the symptoms of copper poisoning

People exposed to excessive amounts of copper can get sick, but you’re far more likely to feel sick from the excessive consumption of vodka in too many Moscow mules than from the copper in the mug.

Copper is vital for the healthy functioning of our bodies. The mineral helps our cells metabolize iron, manufacture essential compounds, and produce energy. The FDA recommends a daily intake of 900 micrograms of copper.

There aren’t many copper mug poisoning issues reported. Although the possible symptoms are usually abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and jaundice, as stated by the National Institute of Health. As mentioned earlier, drinking any beverage with prolonged exposure to copper can cause poisoning and may result in liver failure and death in extreme cases.

Safety Tips When Using Copper Mugs

The American Journal of Public Health published a report. It was about nurses who drank cocktails at a party where some beverages were sitting too long in a copper contaminated cocktail shaker. Eventually, everyone became sick and reported nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

The problem is that it’s hard for anyone to conclude which drink is healthy and safe to consume when left inside a copper vessel for long hours. A 1991 EPA report has set a maximum contaminant level goal for the copper inside water, which is 1.3mg per liter.

  1. Ensure that highly acidic drinks like vodka are served in a copper vessel with a food-grade inner coating, something all Advanced Mixology copper mugs have. 
  2. Whenever you use a copper mug to serve your cocktail, the inner element should either be nickel or stainless steel. The internal silver lining may look cheap, but it keeps the contents safe to drink.
  3. Ensure that the inside of the Moscow mule copper mug is not made of pure copper.
  4. Don’t leave your drink inside a copper mug for too long or specifically more than 2 hours.
  5. If possible, drink your alcoholic beverages using a glass container.


We at Advanced Mixology have always ensured the safety of all our copper mugs and other containers. We assure high standards while making our Moscow mule copper mugs, which has made us trustworthy among our customers. 

All our copper mugs have a high-quality and food-grade coating on the inside so that even if you leave your drink, it will not cause you any harm.

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  • Susan Clearman on

    I would love to try one of your mugs. Moscow Mule drinks are my favorite. What is the best ginger beer to use?

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