Temperature plays a large role in determining how enjoyable a beverage is going to taste. If you’ve ever been served any form of alcoholic drink, like a Moscow Mule, at room temperature, you know first hand that this is true.
The reason lukewarm beverages are a turnoff for your taste buds is because temperature impacts the chemistry of your drink. When the temperature of your beverage is too warm, the reaction that creates the ultimate flavor and aroma of your drink can’t occur.
That leaves you with a flat, stale, and unappetizing beverage that should be dumped in the sink. And the sink is no place for a finely crafted cocktail!
We believe every beverage you drink should be crisp, refreshing, and flavorful. So, to ensure every drink you consume reaches it peak of flavor and deliciousness, we’re going to let you in on the science behind one of the coldest cups in the world–solid copper Moscow Mule mugs.
Keep reading to discover why copper mugs are the coldest beverage vessels and how temperature alters the chemistry in a cocktail for maximum drinking pleasure.
Pure Copper Mugs and Thermal Conductivity
The element copper has one of the highest thermal conductivity properties of all the elements on the periodic table. In fact, copper conducts both heat and cold nearly 400 times more efficiently than glass.
Check out this video that visually shows how well copper conducts cold temperatures
To explain how this works, we’re going to use an example of mixing an original Moscow Mule to explore how this cooling property allows pure copper mugs to drop liquids to the ultimate drinking temperature.
The first ingredient in this recipe is ice. The minute that ice is dropped into the copper mug, heat begins to flow from the cup to the ice. This is due to the second law of thermodynamics.
The Second Law of Thermodynamics, also known as The Law of Increased Entropy, is all about the quality of energy.
It states that as energy is transferred or transformed, more and more of it is wasted. While quantity remains the same, the quality of matter/energy deteriorates gradually over time.
This means that pure copper mugs are capable of lowering internal temperatures (because of the ice) without reheating due to outside warmth (warm air or hands touching the mug).
When the next ingredient, vodka, is added to the mix, it increases the surface area of the cold points of contact, which expedites the rate at which the mugs temperature drops.
Next the ginger beer is added, which has a quantity of carbonation. Since the heat energy from the low thermal mass copper cup has been rapidly transferred to the ice and vodka, due to thermal conductivity properties, the carbonation will remain higher in a cooler beverage and provide more pop and fizz when it comes in contact with your warm lips.
While the chemistry might be slightly different depending on what type of beverage you drink, the process is still the same. Thanks to the conductive properties of pure copper, any beverage you drink from a copper cup is guaranteed to be cold and refreshing.
If you’re a visual learner, or just want more information, check out our temperature basics infographic.
THE CONNECTION: 100% COPPER MUGS, TEMPERATURE, CHEMISTRY, AND FLAVOR
The incredible taste of a Moscow Mule is created by a chemical reaction that occurs between in vitamins, minerals, and other compounds (such as potassium) found naturally in the drinks ingredients.
But achieving this flavor isn’t as simple as just dumping all the ingredients into a cup and stirring them together.
In order for the chemical reactions to occur, the ingredients need to be below a certain temperature. Because copper drinking mugs have the capability of cooling down liquids to the appropriate temperature for the reactions to occur, they are an essential part of the Moscow Mule drinking experience.
Here’s what happens when you mix a Moscow Mule in a pure copper mug…
As we discussed earlier, the instant ice hits a copper mug it’s temperature begins to drop.
When you pour in the next ingredient,vodka, the cooling process continues.
This boosts the flavor of the vodka.
Next the ginger beer is added. Cold copper increases the amount of bubbles from the carbonated ginger beer. This maximizes the levels of fizz in your Moscow Mule, which not only makes the drink more aromatic, but deepens the flavor of the ginger beer.
Last, but not least, the cooled copper mug has an effect on the lime juice. When the juice hits the copper, oxidization occurs its citrus notes and flavors are heightened allowing the lime flavor to offer a softer compliment to the spicy nature of the ginger beer.
While we used the example of our favorite drink, the Original Moscow Mule, for these examples, the properties of copper and the impact those properties have on flavor and temperature ring true for just about any other alcoholic beverage.