For some reason, people love coming up with specific drinking vessels for specific types of alcohol. Of all these delivery systems — the martini glass, the shot glass, the beer stein, the snifter, the champaign flute — perhaps none is as iconic (or odd) as the copper mug. A throwback used primarily for Moscow Mules, copper mugs impart a specific flavor on the drinking experience. To be fair, they look pretty cool, too.
But much like copper pans, you really have to pay special attention to keep copper mugs clean. Accomplishing that is also a bit more complicated than most drinking glasses, because you can't under any circumstances put them in the dishwasher. For the most part, you can get them all spic and span with a minimum of effort — just soap and water combined with a soft sponge. But to combat tarnish (much like with brass pans), you're going to need to break out the big guns, things like baking soda, vinegar, and lemon.
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Basic Cleaning With Copper Mugs Isn't Anything Stressful
One important thing to note about copper mugs: if they're not lined with another substance, do not use them under any circumstances. If the mug is pure copper and the drink has a pH below 6.0 (basically, if it has any acid in it at all), that metal is going to leech into the drink in a manner of minutes and can potentially cause copper poisoning — which is why cooking with copper pots is a bit risky. This is an issue in Moscow Mules because of the ginger beer. But if the mug is lined with another metal like stainless steel or nickel, you're good to go.
If you're just dealing with basic cleaning, it's as simple as you might expect. Rinse out the copper, gently wash it with dish soap and a sponge, and clean it out like any other glass. The only trickier part is the drying; don't just dry it once and call it a day, make absolutely sure it's dry, hitting it once with a towel, letting it air dry, then drying it again. The reason why this is so important is because of the other foe being combated when cleaning copper mugs: tarnish.
There Are Several Different Ways To Deal With Tarnished Copper
Copper can tarnish for all sorts of reasons, but one of the key ones is moisture. Regardless of how it got there, though, there are a few methods you can use to deal with it. Lemons and salt are the first. Cut a lemon into quarters, dip it into either table or sea salt (both work), then scrub the copper slowly with the fruit until it takes the tarnish off. It should work immediately.
The second method is vinegar and salt. Combine one cup of vinegar, five cups of water, and one tablespoon of table salt (sea salt won't denature nearly as easily). Put the solution into a relatively deep saucepan, put the mug in there with it, and bring it to a boil on the stove. The tarnish should come off naturally.
The third method, meanwhile, makes use of vinegar and that old cleaner's friend: baking soda. Make a solution out of three parts baking soda and one part vinegar, use a sponge to get it onto the tarnish in small circular motions, and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Just rinse it off and the tarnish should be gone.
There's no wrong answer among these methods; it comes down to personal preference. Whatever method you use, make sure to keep your copper mugs clean and tarnish-free, and you'll be enjoying Moscow Mules for years to come.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.