The history of copper goes way, way back. While cavemen probably weren’t sitting around next to their bonfires sipping Moscow Mules, they did find a ton of use from copper cups. Copper was actually the first metal used by humankind! People were obsessed, so much so that it was even said to represent eternal life in Egypt.  

Nowadays, we love sipping drinks at bars, parties, and weddings from copper mugs. The question is: Why are we so obsessed with copper cups? Here’s everything you need to know about this long-lasting metal drinkware!

What is a Copper Mug?

A copper mug is a shiny, non-corrosive cup that’s typically used for serving Moscow Mules. These drinking vessels can be made from either artificial or real copper and have been used since 1941.

Why Are Moscow Mules Served in Copper Mugs?

Part of the reason why we still use copper mugs to serve Moscow Mules has to do with the drink’s history. As the story goes, a man named Jack Morgan owned a British pub that needed something new to draw in more customers. His girlfriend owned a copper-making business and used her resources to make mugs for a new drink recipe that Jack was creating with a colleague.

To market the new “Moscow Mules,” Morgan launched a campaign that showed celebrities like Woody Allen and Dolores Hawkins drinking from copper cups. Soon enough, this new drink recipe, and the shiny cups it was served in, were all over Europe. It’s been tradition to use copper cups for Moscow Mules ever since!

What Are the Best Drinks to Serve in Copper Mugs?

Lemon or lime drinks taste amazing in copper mugs! The oxidized metal enhances the flavors, leaving you feeling refreshed after taking a sip. Copper cups are used to serve ginger ale, iced tea, and most notably, Moscow Mules.

Are you feeling thirsty? These are the best drinks to pour inside of copper mugs:

  1. Moscow Mules
  2. Ginger beer
  3. Ciders
  4. Mint Julep
  5. Ginger ale
  6. Iced tea
  7. Lime margaritas
  8. Gin and Tonic
  9. Water

Moscow Mules

Copper mugs and Moscow Mules go together like peanut butter and jelly. If you have this popular cocktail on your menu, copper cups are an absolute must! Moscow Mules are icy cool drinks that belong at any pool party, picnic, or backyard barbecue!

Ginger Beer

Do you love a mix of sweet and spicy flavors? Ginger beer runs the gamut with a ton of different flavors for any palate. You don’t have to mix this drink with lime juice and vodka to make a Moscow Mule. Drink it straight in a copper cup if you want something refreshing, tasty, and super frothy.

Ciders

Not everyone wants a Moscow Mule! The good news is you can also use copper cups for non or low-acidic ciders. Whether it’s pear, apple, strawberry, or lime, these carbonated drinks will really pop inside of a copper mug.

Mint Julep

The Mint Julep is a popular mixed drink that’s made using mint, bourbon, and simple syrup. The drink is typically served in pewter cups, but it can also be very tasty inside of copper mugs.

Ginger Ale

Kids may want to use copper mugs, too! Let them be part of the fun by pouring ginger ale into the cups. It’s a fancy way to serve this basic drink, especially if you garnish it with limes, lemons, and a fancy straw.

Iced Tea

What’s better than a cool drink on a hot summer’s day? Throw ice cubes into a copper cup, add a lemon wedge, and enjoy an iced tea on your front porch with a good book, or under an umbrella on the beach!

Lime Margaritas

If you go to a Mexican restaurant, you might order a lime-flavored frozen margarita. While these drinks are usually served in cocktail glasses, they can also be poured into copper cups!

Gin & Tonic

There’s something old-school and classy about a gin and tonic. Give this favorite drink a modern twist by pouring it into a copper mug. Now play some Frank Sinatra and enjoy!

Water

Let’s not turn our noses up at water. After all, we need it to survive! Make the water feel more fancy by pouring it into copper cups. Then complete the drink with a lemon wedge and maybe some sugar on the rim.

What is a Moscow Mule?

A Moscow Mule is a popular fizzy cocktail that’s made using a mixture of vodka, ginger beer, and lime juice. Some bars and breweries offer special variations on this drink using bourbon or tequila.

Best Moscow Mule Recipe

Ingredients:

  • Copper mug
  • Ice
  • ½ fluid ounces lime juice
  • 1 lime wedge
  • 1 ½ fluid ounces vodka
  • ½ cup ginger beer

How to make a Moscow Mule:

  1. Pour vodka and lime juice into copper mug.
  2. Add ice cubes and ginger beer. Stir.
  3. Place a lime wedge onto the rim of the mug for garnish.
  4. Enjoy!

Can You Drink Hot Liquids Out of a Copper Mug?

While it’s not very common, it is possible to consume hot drinks from a copper mug. It’s not a good idea to pour coffee inside, but you can use these cups for tea, mulled ciders, and hot bourbon with cinnamon.

Be aware that the metal will get very hot. For that reason, it may be a good idea to wrap the mug in a koozie or any other drink holder first before you deserve the drinks.

How to Clean Moscow Mule Mugs

Copper mugs shouldn’t go in the dishwasher. The cycle would be too harsh and may cause the shiny metal to look dull. You should hand wash your copper cups instead.

Do you want to clean your copper Moscow Mule mugs? Give this easy cleaning method a try!

Step One: Rinse the copper mug with warm water.

Step Two: Use a soft sponge and a mild dishwashing soap to wash the copper mug.

Step Three: Rinse away the suds with warm water and dab dry with a clean towel.

Step Four: Keep the copper cup from looking tarnished by mixing together lemon juice and salt or white vinegar. Scrub the solution onto the mugs using a toothbrush.

Step Five: Rinse the mug one more time with warm water.

Step Six: Dry the mug thoroughly with a clean towel and then dry again! It’s very important that you don’t leave any water inside as it can cause the mug to tarnish or change colors.

It’s important to go through all of these steps every time you use your copper mug. A little bit of effort and love is all it takes to have delicious Moscow Mules for years to come!

How Do You Keep Copper Mugs From Tarnishing?

The best way to keep Moscow Mule mugs from tarnishing is by storing them properly. Keep the copper cups in a cool, dry, accessible area. Your kitchen cabinet isn’t the best choice, so instead hang them on hooks, or set them up on open shelves away from your window and sink.

Is it too late and your copper cups are already tarnished? Try scrubbing them with a mixture of lemon juice and salt, white vinegar and baking soda, or no kidding, ketchup! The acidity from any of these natural cleaning remedies should fix the damage.

Do Copper Mugs Keep Drinks Colder?

Copper is a conductor rather than an insulator, which means it retains heat. For that reason, copper mugs will not necessarily keep your drinks colder for longer.

Still that isn’t to say your drink will warm up! Copper responds to the temperature of the drink inside, so if you’re sipping from something cold like a Moscow Mule, it will stay chilly for a while.

Is It Safe to Drink Out of a Copper Mug?

With fear of BPA and other chemicals leaching into drinks, many wonder whether or not it’s safe to drink from a copper mug. Most health professionals say the metal likely won’t leach in your drink and cause copper poisoning.

If you’re at all concerned, however, look for copper cups that are lined in nickel, which are said to be safer.

What Should You Not Drink in Copper Mugs?

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), citrus and acidic drinks shouldn’t be served in copper cups. You should not use your copper mugs to drink any of the following:

  • Soda
  • Wine
  • Beer (unless it’s ginger beer)
  • Orange juice and other fruit-flavored juices
  • Lemonade
  • Tomato juice
  • Sports drinks like Gatorade and Powerade
  • Coffee
  • Unmixed hard liquor like gin, whiskey, and brandy

Use glass cups if you plan on serving any of these drinks at your bar, restaurant, wedding, or birthday party. It’s important to keep everyone safe!

Why Do People Like Copper Mugs?

People like copper mugs because they are pretty and look great in Instagram pictures. Copper mugs are equally vintage and modern, adding a decorative touch to weddings, banquets, bridal showers, awards ceremonies, and many other celebrations.

Plus, custom Moscow Mule mugs happen to be great gifts! You can get copper cups personalized with a heartfelt message or the person’s name. From there, put it in a gift basket with ginger beer, lime juice, and vodka. They can build their own cocktail whenever they’re in need of a good drink!

Final Thoughts

You’ve just gone through the copper mine and learned all there is to know about Moscow Mule mugs. These copper cups are charming and have that vintage feeling of something you’d find at the thrift or antique store.

Whether you use yours for Moscow Mules, iced tea, or water, you’ll love having this classy drinkware to sip from. Take care of your copper mugs and enjoy all those refreshing drinks!

References

Makin Metal Powders. History of Copper. Retrieved from, https://www.makin-metals.com/history-of-copper/

Booth, J. (2016, October 10). Moscow Mule Mug Myths: Fact or Fiction? Retrieved from, https://www.thrillist.com/culture/the-truth-about-copper-moscow-mule-mugs

Moscow Copper Co. (2020, July 25). Everything You Need to Know About Copper Mugs. Retrieved from, https://moscowcopper.com/blogs/the-mule-blog/16493508-everything-you-need-to-know-about-copper-mugs

Herrera, H.  Why Are Moscow Mules Served in Copper Mugs? Retrieved from, https://www.webstaurantstore.com/blog/2710/moscow-mule-copper-mugs.html

Steven M. Dater, DDS Dentistry. Drink This, Not That: Top Most Acidic Drinks & Healthy Alternatives. Retrieved from, https://www.daterdentistry.com/blog/drink-this-not-that-top-most-acidic-drinks-healthy-alternatives

Williams, C. (2019, July 8). Why Are Moscow Mules Served in Copper Mugs? Retrieved from, https://www.myrecipes.com/how-to/cooking-questions/why-are-moscow-mules-served-in-copper-mugs

Cervin, M. (2007 August). Copper in the Arts. Retrieved from, https://www.copper.org/consumers/arts/2007/august/Moscow_Mule.html

Advanced Mixology. (2020, May 1). 15 Best Drinks to Serve in Copper Mugs & Cups. Retrieved from, https://advancedmixology.com/blogs/art-of-mixology/copper-mug-drinks

All Recipes. Moscow Mule Cocktail. Retrieved from, https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/221310/moscow-mule-cocktail/

Moscow Copper Co. (2017, November 21). Hot Drinks to Enjoy From a Copper Mug. Retrieved from, https://moscowcopper.com/blogs/the-mule-blog/hot-drinks-enjoy-copper-mug

Chiu, R. (2020, September 2). How to Clean Copper Mugs. Retrieved from, https://www.wikihow.com/Clean-Copper-Mugs

Taroni Metal Recycling. How to Prevent Your Metal From Tarnishing. Retrieved from, https://www.taronimetalrecycling.co.uk/prevent-metal-tarnishing/

Paykoc Imports. (2015, February 12). Looking After and Cleaning Your Moscow Mule Mugs: The Right Way. Retrieved from, https://www.paykocimports.com/blog/looking-after-and-cleaning-your-moscow-mule-mugs-the-right-way/

Paykoc Imports. (2015, October 15). Hell for Copper Drinking Mugs: What NOT to Do Once You Buy. Retrieved from, https://www.paykocimports.com/blog/hell-for-copper-drinking-mugs-what-not-to-do-once-you-buy/

About the author

Alyssa Mertes

Alyssa is a promo expert with over four years of experience in the industry. She is the Lead Copywriter at Quality Logo Products and has had work published for the Promotional Products Association International and the Advertising Specialty Institute.