Drinkers of Moscow Mules know all too well that they simply cannot drink the vodka cocktail in a long stemmed cocktail glass or a tumbler made of glass. Where would be the adventure in that? The Moscow Mule is specifically designed for consumption from a tankard or mug made of copper, preferably hammered copper. Choosing another type of material would not be apropos as the drink is kept cold in copper.
The Moscow Mule’s ingredients are few but distinct – vodka, ginger beer and lime. The flavors of the ginger beer and lime are brought out when they enjoyed from a mug made of copper. Copper is a thermal conductor, all which means the metal is able to hold in either coldness or heat and therefore keep your favorite beverages from becoming diluted or lukewarm.
Copper is not so much an insulator but a conductor. Therefore, you only need to add a small amount of ice to a drink to enjoy a cold summertime beverage. When copper is made into a container that holds a cold drink, its conductivity is limited to removing heat and transferring the coldness in a drink’s ice to ensure that the drink remains cold.
If you add a warm beverage to a copper drinking cup, then copper’s thermal conductivity is used to remove any coolness and conduct the warmth of a liquid or beverage to its container. Therefore, the same process that is used to keep a drink cold is also instituted, by way of copper, to keep a drink warm too.
To understand this concept more thoroughly, you have to look at the principles behind insulation and conduction. Conduction causes heat to travel through solids and insulation maintains warmth or coolness by lessening the heat transfer through conduction. Insulation can also assist in reducing heat loss by convection, the method heat uses to travel through gases and liquids.
Convection is also based on the way heat travels, known as radiation, through an empty space. Metals, such as copper, are good conductors and usually feel cold to the touch white wood or plastic, which are considered to be good insulators, feel warm or semi-warm to the touch.
Copper is an excellent example of a mineral that is an efficient conductor of both heat and cold. When any heat application is made to the metal, it spreads over the surface rapidly. Cold has the same effect. When coldness is applied to a copper surface, it spreads swiftly. Both heat and cold retention last longer when using a copper mug, than when a cup of plastic or glass is used.
As a result, when you mix a Moscow Mule, the copper mug into which the cocktail is added will not insulate the drink but will make it seem colder when you are enjoying it, all which means you need fewer ice cubes to retain the chill. The metal will transfer the warmth or cold of the drink to its container.
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