While it is well-known that a traditional Moscow Mule cocktail tastes best served in a copper mug, did you also know that some kinds of copper mugs are better than others? In this blog post, we’ll describe four considerations that you can use to ensure that you are choosing the best copper Moscow Mule mugs.
Is the Exterior 100% Pure High-Grade Copper?
One of the first considerations when evaluating a Moscow Mule mug is whether the exterior is made from 100% pure high-grade food-safe copper. Moscow Mule mugs have gained significant popularity over the years, and as a result, many sellers have tried to trick customers into buying cheap metal mugs that are only plated with copper, or even worse, metal mugs covered in a thin coat of metallic copper paint. You might have noticed sellers trying to sell such knock-offs on Amazon, Ebay, and Etsy.
Fake Moscow Mule mugs are obviously undesirable and should be avoided. Any copper plating or metallic paints will start to rub off very quickly only to reveal the cheap metal underneath, leaving you with an unattractive and overpriced mug!
The grade and quality of the copper exterior is also an important consideration. The price of copper varies greatly depending on the quality of the copper, with lower quality copper generally available quite inexpensively. Although a number of manufacturers (most of which are selling on Amazon, Ebay, and Etsy) are able to offer their Moscow Mule mugs at a low price, they are able to do so because they are using low quality copper that is not food-grade. More significantly, lower quality copper easily chips damaging the aesthetic and potentially resulting in dangerous metal shards in your drink or elsewhere.
We're happy to say that all of our copper mugs have an exterior made of 100% pure high-grade food-safe copper. Our mugs are of exceptional high quality and will last a lifetime.
Is the Interior Lined with High Grade Nickel?
The second consideration when evaluating a copper Moscow Mule mug is whether the interior is lined with nickel. While copper is an important essential mineral, it is also a heavy metal that reacts with acidic liquids such as cocktail ingredients. The term pH refers to the acidity or alkalinity of liquids and is expressed on a scale of 0 to 14. Liquids with a pH below 7, like lemon juice, are considered acidic while liquids with a pH above 7, like liquid soap, are considered alkaline. Liquids with a pH of 7, like water, are considered neutral. The pH of a traditional Moscow Mule, along with many delicious beverages, is well below 6, mainly as a result of the alcohol and other acids contained in the cocktail. Any acidic drink will corrode the copper in a mug without a nickel lining, which will then leach back into the drink and increase the level of copper consumed.
Accordingly, if you use a copper mug that is not lined with nickel with any drink that is even slightly acidic, the acidic fluids in your drink will cause a chemical reaction which will literally cause you to ingest large amounts of copper, leading to an unhealthy and potentially dangerous concentration of copper in your body. High concentrations of copper are very poisonous and have led to various food borne illnesses. Some symptoms of copper poisoning include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and jaundice, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
All of our copper mugs are lined with a layer of high-grade nickel. Why is nickel lining so important? In short, unlike copper, nickel does not corrode or otherwise react when put in contact with acidic liquids. As a result, a cocktail or other drink enjoyed in a nickel-lined copper mug will not experience any copper leaching, which means that your health is fully protected!
How is the Handle Attached to the Mug?
The third consideration when evaluating a copper Moscow Mule mug is how the handle is attached to the mug. In general, handles can be either welded or riveted. There are some very important differences between the two that can have a significant impact on your health and your enjoyment of your copper mug.
In the case of a welded handle, heat has been used to melt the metal out of which the handle is made in order to attach the handle to the body of the Moscow Mule mug. The welding process should, if performed properly, leave the interior of the body of the copper mug completely intact. Although welding is a more complicated and expensive process, it will, when properly performed, ensure that your Moscow Mule mugs will be completely water-tight and leak free.
On the other hand, in the case of a riveted handle, metal bolts have been used to attach the handle to the body of the Moscow Mule mug. The riveting process is much easier and cheaper than the welding process, and is therefore the preferred method for attaching handles for many manufacturers. However, there are several problems with the riveting process. First, the rivets themselves are rarely copper and are often made from a metal alloy which contains toxic metals such as lead. Second, the riveting process creates holes in the body of the copper mug which lead to constant leaking.
Manufacturers who produce riveted copper mugs often add glue to the interior of the copper mug to fill the holes left by the rivets in order to prevent leaking. Unfortunately, the glue these manufacturers tend to use has a very strong chemical smell, is highly toxic and will contaminate your drink.
It is in your best interest to consider copper mugs with a welded handle rather than a riveted handle. It’s also important to ensure that the welding process has been properly performed. Some inexperienced manufacturers apply too much heat during the welding process, which causes microscopic holes to be “burnt” through the body of the copper mug. Although these holes are small and hard to see, they will eventually lead to leaks in the same way as mugs with riveted handles.
At Moscow Muled all of our mugs are handcrafted with handles that have been welded to the body of the copper mug, which leaves them intact on the inside and ensures that they remain water-tight and leak-free. All of our mugs are also handmade by skilled craftsmen to ensure perfection in the welding process.
What is the Texture of the Mug?
The fourth and final consideration when evaluating a copper mug is its texture. In general, copper mugs are either smooth or hammered.
A smooth copper mug is made from copper sheets that are flat and have not been indented. Conversely, a hammered copper mug is essentially a smooth copper mug that has had its exterior “tapped” hundreds of times with a small hammer in order to create an indented texture.
Hammered copper mugs provide a beautiful and unique aesthetic which also reduces the occurrence and visibility of copper patina, which is generated through the natural process of oxidation. Smooth copper mugs will show copper patina more noticeably and will require more polishing as a result.
At Moscow Muled all of our mugs are hammered in order to create a beautiful and unique aesthetic, and to minimize the visibility of patina.
We hope you enjoyed this blog post summarizing the top four considerations when evaluating a copper mug, and we hope this guide will be of assistance to you when purchasing your own copper mugs!