Picture of Gatorade Recipe
Sports drinks are awesome. They have electrolytes and sugar and quench that thirst. Gatorade's pioneered the field and is now everywhere, but why pay them a ton for what is just salty sugary water with artificial flavoring?

So stop dropping all that money on the glorified bottled water and make some on your own! You could end up paying up to 90% less.

While this isn't a perfect Gatorade recipe that will taste exactly like Gatorade since matching their artificial flavors is impossible, it will be just as effective.

Did I mention that this stuff has electrolytes? Oh, man, does it ever have electrolytes.

If you want to skip to the recipe, go here.
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Step 1: Why to do it

Buying a pre-made sports drink is practically the same thing as buying bottled water since a sports drink is mostly water with some sugar and a tiny bit of other stuff added.

Let's do a quick breakdown of why you shouldn't do this:
- You can get perfectly good water from the tap. The stuff you get in the store is just coming from someone else's tap anyway.
- If your tap water tastes bad, get a filter. It'll pay for itself, trust me.
- It takes a lot of gas to move all that heavy fluid around the country. More waste and more emissions.
- Even if you don't care about the wasting of fuel and the extra emissions, do you really want to pay for it?

By the way, you aren't drinking bottled water either, right? There's just no good reason for doing that unless you're too lazy to chill water by either putting it in the fridge or adding ice and that would just be sad.

Step 2: What's in a sports drink

Picture of What's in a sports drink
The basic breakdown of a sports drink is easy. In fact, Gatorade puts all the information you need on its nutrition label so let's look at that.

14g sugar
110mg sodium
30mg potassium

The 14 grams of sugar makes sure that the total make-up of the liquid is 6% carbohydrates. Gatorade claims that this is the optimal level to enhance the water being absorbed into your body.

To get the sodium and potassium, that's easy. Sodium comes from any salt (sodium chloride) you drop in water. As for the potassium, just look for a "lite" salt like Morton's Lite and you'll find it there.

For the flavoring, we're going to go the easy route here and simply use a Kool-Aid packet. It's cheap, comes in many flavors, and is the fastest route to getting a similar experience to commercial sports drinks. We're never going to be able to match the flavors of a commercial product, but it's close enough.

Step 3: Doing the math

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Since we're using a Kool-Aid packet for the flavoring and one packet is meant for 2 quarts (64 oz.) of liquid we'll be making 2 quarts of sports drink. You could cut the dry ingredients in half for 1 quart batches, but if you're going as far as making your own sports drink you'll likely be able to put away 2 quarts pretty quickly. You will probably want to make a double batch or more in the future.

So let's go back to the original numbers from Gatorade and convert them to a 2 quart batch.

14g sugar
110mg sodium
30mg potassium

112g sugar
880mg sodium
240mg potassium

Since white sugar weighs about 190 grams per cup, we'll just use one heaping 1/2 cup of sugar and call it a day. If you're super picky, use a scale or add a heaping tablespoon to 1/2 cup of sugar.

Next is the sodium and potassium. If we add 1/4 teaspoon of the Morton Lite salt to 1/4 teaspoon of the sea salt we get:
880mg sodium
350mg potassium.

This is 50% more potassium than Gatorade has, but, hey, more electrolytes! Also, this is for a 2 quart mixture so when we go back to the original serving size we get:
14g sugar
110mg sodium
44mg potassium

Since the recommended daily amount for an adult is 2,000mg of potassium a day this will work just fine.

Now, let's make some sports drink!

Step 4: Final recipe

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OK, here's the recipe:

1 Kool-Aid packet
1/4 tsp Morton Lite salt
1/4 tsp sea salt
heaping 1/2 cup sugar
2 quarts water

Throw it all together and stir. Chill it and prepare to guzzle it down when you're sweating a ton from sports or working outside on a hot day.

Step 5: Cost savings

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Now that you've seen the recipe, here's the cost breakdown:

Kool-Aid packet - 25 cents
Morton Lite salt - 1 cent
sea salt - 1 cent
sugar - 15 cents (based on 5 lb package)

Total for 2 quarts: 42 cents!

But remember that that is for 8 servings so that's about 5 cents per 8 oz. serving.

Gatorade has a few different bottle sizes, but one common one is the 32 oz. size that often retails for $1.99. We just made it ourselves for 21 cents.

Even compared to the Gatorade powder we still come out ahead. In my local grocery store I can get a plastic container with enough powder to make 32 servings for $4.99. If we want to make the powder on our own it would cost $1.68.

And for all of you who aren't losing those precious electrolytes through exercise, there's an even cheaper option: water. You don't need a sports drink to drive, walk around, or work on a computer all day. You also don't need all the sugar in these drinks either. So unless you really need that optimal 6% of carbohydrates that Gatorade insists improves your hydration, just fill up a glass of water and drink it up.

Step 6: More recipes

From laceration

1 scoop = 31 grams, a bit more that an ounce.

3 scoops of MALTODEXTRIN
1 scoop of SUCROSE (table sugar)
1 scoop of WHEY PROTEIN POWDER (optional)
.75 teaspoon LITE SALT
1 package of KOOLAID, mango flavored

Use about 2 scoops of the final mix to a quart or liter or water bottle--they're all about the same amount.

Maltodextrin is a complex and easily digested sugar derived from corn. It is hard to find I usually buy bulk quantity from Ebay every year or 2.

Mango Kool-Aid is sold in stores that cater to Hispanics. For taste, they put some ascorbic acid(vitamin C) in it too, who knows? maybe that's good too.

There is a theory out there that some protein in the mix adds to to the bodies utilization of the drink. Studies have had mixed results. Available from Trader Joe's and other places. Be wary of substituting Soy protein. People like the idea of soy protein because it is not an animal product. That does not automatically mean its better for you, in fact, there is some evidence to the contrary.

from recyclist

3 cups maltodextrin
1 cup Dextrose
1/2 cup Whey Protein
1 tsp lite salt
1 pack Koolaid, any flavor.

Mix 1/2 cup of mix per 750ml water bottle.

The lite salt is a must to prevent cramping if endurance mountain biking. My mix matches up with Hammer Nutritions Sustained Energy. This stuff works Awsome. I used to use sugar too, but was getting a sugar crash off it. This stuff has no crash and if consumed 1 bottle per hour can keep me riding moderately hard for at least 7 hours.
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dougb615 months ago

Kool-Aid? Really? Why put a packet full of chemicals in your body? There are a lot of better recipes all over the Internet with natural ingredients.

Gotta watch out for the hydrogen hydroxide and hydroxilic acid in a lot of those "natural ingredients" ಠ_ಠ
MelissaS85 months ago

I have found a great site for Gatorade if you dont want to make it. www.HydrationDepot.com super cheap at $1.25 per gallon.. almost what is cost to make :-)

dacker2 years ago
This is nearly identical to the sports drink I've been making for cycling. Personally, I skip the sea salt and use double the Morton Lite Salt.

I usually use a fruit juice as flavoring, plus it also adds a bit of fructose. Since it can easily be 100-degrees Fahrenheit on the road in summer, I only use juice for more moderate weather as I get concerned about spoilage. I've tried Kool-Aid but I'm afraid of staining my bike clothes and the white paint on my bike. I recently found lemon powder in a spice shop and it has been working great. It's more thirst-quenching than other options and is fabric- and paint-safe. One-eight teaspoon per quart/liter tastes great.

One trick I use is to mix a batch of the powders in a dry blender and turned to the highest speed. It pulverizes the sugar and salt into a much finer powder which dissolves easily in cold/cool water. I reserve this for taking with me in powder form on rides as you never know what will be the temperature of the water you find.
How much blended powder should I put in a bottle of water?
For the recipe I use, I use 1/4-cup per 24 ounce bottle though I think the original recipe uses a 20-ounce bottle. I hate super-sweet drinks such a Gatorade and its ilk.
justfluffyme6 months ago
I really like the idea of putting the dry ingredients in the blender to make an easy to mix powder. Any suggestion on how much powder to add to a bottled water (single serving)?
fizzzbang9 months ago

For those complaining about the sugar I read that a doctor found, or research, that it helped with the absorption of the salt in the intestine. Ok, so perhaps that's not the exact description but search for DIY dehydration solution or the like and you'll see that they use this combo used in Africa vs the stuff you can get at a pharmacy that is basically the same thing. (1000s of kids a day) From what I read the sugar help enormously with the absorption and lets one absorb 10x or more sodium or something crazy like that. So I'm sure Gatoriade (not sure any real athlete used that - runners anyway - I used to use Cytomax) has some more magic in it but the sugar helps with dehydration via the increase in absorption.

dudes1 year ago
did you have to swear in the picture? really? come on it was uncalled for.
aazrhael2 years ago
can i use tang instead ?

Yes! You sure can. I couldn't find Kool-Aid anywhere. I used orange tang and it was great. Make sure you add loads of tang else, it tastes like sweet water with a slightly orangy taste. :D

Dyer131 year ago
Maltodextrin is not that hard to find. Any homebrew beer and wine store worth its salt will have this sugar for relatively cheap. If you can't find it at your local store, or if you don't have a homebrew store nearby, buy it from any online homebrew store.

Northern Brewer and Midwest Supplies are two good ones.

mrmike_4902 years ago
I have been making this multiple years as I'm an avid indoor/outdoor cyclist. I cut down on the sugar or use Splenda (just my preference). I take one bottle on a cycling trip as well as I put the mix in baggies where I can make more on the road; works just fine for me and I'm getting the hydration plus electrolytes needed! Great idea plus very inexpensive! Thankx
ked19973 years ago
What about the current prices...
cleage0013 years ago
Let's say in my country "there bo be" Morton salt nor Kool-Aid. Can I change the recipe to 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 quarts water and some random instant juice? Please someone let me know.
That sounds like it would work just fine.
leahben3 years ago
this is great! not only economical but a great project for my middle school boys who consume gallons of this stuff. and real life math. i can hear them now..."REALLY mom"!!!!
kid cudi5 years ago
what is kool aid
Kool Aid is a flavored drink powder. It is sold as a drink for children.
can you only get it in the us because i live in ireland
I don't know- I would think that there might be a local substitute you could use. It is basically a small packet of powder flavoring with a sweetener premixed. It is available in both regular sugar and artificial sweetener. A syrup for making a squash might work well. Cheers!
it's called powdered cordial mix :L
I didn't think the standard Kool-Aid packets had any kind of sweetener in them, hence the sugar. Then again, I haven't bought Kool-Aid in a loooong time.
fruit juice would be healthier to use.
I think that all "drink in powder" should work
Adults drink Kool Aid too :p
kclausen3 years ago
Not sure if anyone in here makes their own energy drinks or want to but I get all my supplies and product from PureBulk.com. Just thought I would share some valuable information! http://purebulk.com
ttiisel3 years ago
Were i live is no kool aid can i use something else?
I really like the recipe :)
fungus amungus (author)  ttiisel3 years ago
The kool-aid is just for the flavor. If you can find some other way of adding flavor, then you should be OK.
Ok ill go to store now and see what i can find
Again,nice recipe :)
sunshiine3 years ago
I don't usually like Gatorade but this may change using this recipe. Thanks again.
sunshiine3 years ago
This is totally awesome! Thanks for sharing!
clibanarius3 years ago
Well, this was my day 4 project for my 30 days of instructables personal challenge. Although there were lots of informative comments here, for this pilot run I decided to stick with fungus amungus's original formula. First Koolaid purchase in 40 years, I'd guess; I had no idea lemon-lime koolaid was such a fluorescent green. Well, it's chillin' in the fridge; we'll give it a try in the morning!
romanreb5 years ago
It's so funny how many people write in to whine and have no intention of accepting help...No koolade in my country.  WHY don't they have koolade in my country?  But I'm not desperate enough to let YOU send me any!  LOL
Let's all just say "thank you" for the recipe and then write in with any helpful adaptations we've come up with.  Show a little resourcefulness.
I'm very excited to find this recipe and a little mad at myself for not having thought of it.  I'm going to use the juice of two lemons instead of the koolade because I find that drinking lemon water regularly makes me feel good.  Don't know why.  Someone told me to do that once, and I did, and it worked, but I wish I'd been paying more attention initially.
yep. lemon juice has some sort of special property that makes it quench a persons thirst more than regular water... i don't remember what causes that, though. I'll have to look it up.
Lemon water, especially hot lemon water, kickstarts your digestive system. It's a main ingredient in the 17-day diet.
one thing.... That is an ASSLOAD of sodium....
Woah now, mango Kool-Aid? Never heard of that in all my years.
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