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A Guide to Copper Mug Linings: Which Lining is Best?

Posted by Paykoc Imports ,13th Nov 2015
A Guide to Copper Mug Linings: Which Lining is Best?

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The Moscow Mule is traditionally served in a solid copper mug, but on occasion is served in a highball or cocktail glass. In fact, many Moscow Mule enthusiasts won’t even consider serving the drink without the copper mug. Copper has been used in cookware and serving-ware for centuries and is still highly prized today for its beauty and functionality, conducting temperature better than many other materials utilized in the kitchen.

Both the Moscow Mule recipe and the copper mug have evolved over years. There are many different recipe variations and copper mugs styles. From the traditional solid unlined copper mugs to copper plated mugs to lined copper mugs, there are plenty of options. Moscow Mule traditionalists typically prefer the unlined mug, thrifty consumers and bar owners often purchase or receive copper plated mugs that provide the effect of copper at a lower cost, and health-conscious consumers may opt for the lined mug.

Why Are Some Copper Mugs Lined with Tin or Nickel?

Copper is a soft, malleable metal that is known to be affected by repeated exposure to hot and cold temperatures. So over time copper cookware and drinkware may degrade. And because the Moscow Mule is served with ice, the copper may change shape and color and release minuscule amounts of copper into the cocktail. Consuming copper in limited quantities is needed by the human body, and overconsuming copper and/or alcohol is potentially harmful. The amount of copper you ingest from drinking Moscow Mules out of a copper mug really depends on the frequency and quantity of consumption. For those Moscow Mule enthusiasts concerned with ingesting copper, lined copper mugs are a great alternative and there are several great options, which we're going to discuss below.

The Whys and Whats of Lined Copper Mugs

When people come to the Paykoc Imports website and start browsing our extensive collection of beautiful copper Moscow Mule mugs they’re often struck by the fact that some are available with a tin lining while most others are sold without a lining. The fact is, there’s no great mystery to why that is so. It typically comes down to a couple of different reasons:

  • Personal preference - In spite of the fact that volumes of scientific evidence points to there being no health hazard involved in drinking out of an unlined solid copper mug there are still those who feel more comfortable when there is a lining between the copper and their drink. In this case then it all comes down to simple matter of personal preference. Since we’re in the business of customer satisfaction we’re happy to provide the option of a tin lining for those of our customers who would prefer it for whatever reason. It’s no more complicated than that.
  • Structural reasons - Since copper is a soft metal it’s not too hard to put a dent in it if you drop it from, say, the counter to the floor. While dents can typically be fixed with little effort (though some people like the look of a more ‘aged’ copper mug) there’s something to be said for a mug that has a little more umph to it. A tin or nickel lining will provide that extra bit of structural support that makes the mug a little more capable of withstanding the trials of everyday life in the kitchen or bar. So, tin lining, stronger mug, fewer dents and dings.

Common Misconceptions About Copper Mug Lining

Now that you know why we offer some mugs with tin linings here are a couple of reasons people think copper mugs are lined that actually aren’t true:

  • Because copper is dangerous to your health - This popular myth is driven by numerous inaccurate blog posts on the Internet. Some go so far as to state categorically that drinking from an unlined mug can be hazardous to your health. The authors cite the fact that trace amounts of copper can leach from the mug surface into the drink as proof that copper mugs are dangerous. What they don’t tell you is that those trace amounts are so small that you’d have to drink several dozen drinks a day, every day, out of your copper mug before it would even begin to be problematic. They also neglect to mention that the body needs small amounts of copper to promote healthy cell growth and to stave off conditions like anemia and various cardiovascular irregularities.
  • To keep your drink colder - We’ve seen this one make the rounds as well. But the fact is that a lining doesn’t do anything to keep your delicious Moscow Mule (or lemonade or smoothie or any other drink) any colder than if the mug were unlined. In fact, there is some evidence to suggest that an unlined copper mug may in fact do a better job of keeping your drink cold than a lined mug. But in either case copper mugs aren’t lined in an effort to keep drinks colder.

Paykoc Copper Mugs

Copper Mugs and Their Popular Lining Materials

In terms of the linings, there are a number of materials that can be used to create them, but the following metals are used most often.

  • Nickel - Nickel is most commonly known as a metal used for making coins. But it’s also an important alloy metal and has a long history of use in household items like faucets and steel alloy cookware. It has been used as a lining material in Mule mugs for some time to prevent copper from being released into drinks and is also a good conductor of temperature which means you’ll lose little of the sweaty ambiance of the copper mug with a nickel lining. But nickel itself is a known allergen, which means if the copper doesn’t get you, then the nickel might, so many makers of lined copper mugs will avoid using it.
  • Stainless Steel - A copper mug lined with stainless steel looks fabulous. The main issue with using stainless steel to line a copper mug however, is that it is a poor conductor of temperature. It is the worst in fact of all metals commonly used today. While this metal will protect the copper mug from the ice used in a Mule, it will also prevent the cold from penetrating to the outside of the mug and creating that much sought after icy-cold effect and condensation droplets. Image is an important part of the Mule’s draw and so to take the cold, dripping copper mug out of the equation is a downer for some people.
  • Tin - Like copper, tin is a fine conductor of temperature. Meaning a mug lined with tin will sweat like a pure copper mug and have that nice frosty feel most Mule drinkers crave. Tin is also non-toxic and doesn’t leach, meaning it’s safe to drink from a mug lined with tin. So with this option you get the aesthetic appeal of pure copper without the potential danger of leaching metals. For these reasons tin is the preferred metal for lining copper Moscow Mule mugs and the lining material we at Paykoc Imports use for our lined mugs.


Paykoc Imports offers an incredible array of both lined and unlined copper mugs so you’re bound to find a style that will serve your kitchen or bar area to a tee. While the choice is ultimately yours, just remember this: the tin-lined copper Moscow Mule mugs available at Paykoc Imports let you retain the classic frosty look that has helped make the Mule a legendary cocktail, while at the same time retiring any concerns you may have had about drinking out of solid copper mugs. Our beautiful tin-lined copper Moscow Mule mugs are also likely to last longer than the standard pure copper mugs, but still retain the same great appearance, giving the guests at your next party something to really talk about.If you were looking for something more personalized, our online customization tool allows you to create custom-engraved copper mugs with whatever text or design your heart desires.