8/1/06 | Making Homemade Gatorade
[ Currently Eating: Goldfish Crackers ]
[Edit: If you came here from Digg, hello. Once again, this is NOT my own recipe] I’m not sure about you, but when I was a kid I absolutely delighted in creating strange and inedible food concoctions. These early period “food pastiches” inevitably included ketchup, mustard, soy sauce, mayonaise and salad dressing. The trick then was to try to make it an inviting color (usually through liberal dashes of food coloring) so that an unexpecting parent would try and drink it.
I didn’t have much success back then, but those memories are part of the reason I still enjoy messing with food today. So, a combination of the hot weather blasting us, my need for something to drink at rollerhockey and money being short as usual, I decided to see if I couldn’t mix me up a batch of Homemade Gatorade. I mean, how hard could it be to make salty flavored water?
A plethora of Gatorade recipes exist, and though some of them rely on things like Potassium Chloride (salt substitute branded as Nu-Salt?), fructose and Kool-Aid mix, the basic ingredients are pretty much water, salt, sugar and some flavoring. I decided to have a shoot-out of Homemade Gatorade versus the real stuff since I had a couple bottles of Gatorade leftover.
Here’s the basic recipe I picked, I went with one that featured OJ because that’s what I had (apparently you can get some potassium from the OJ?)
Homemade Gatorade Recipe
1/2 cup orange juice — $0.15
9 tbs. Sugar — $0.03
3/8 tsp Salt – negligible
2 liters (approx) water – negligible
Using boiling or hot water can make things go faster, but you’ll need to chill it down somehow before fridging it. So just mix everything together and see if it tastes like Gatorade. Does it? Read on…
As I was mixing up the homemade batch, I started to have just the first inklings of some serious doubt about what I was getting myself into. After all, I think you can get ferociously sick or even croak from drinking too much salt water, right? And if it was so easy, why weren’t all my friends at hockey doing it? (aside: it turns out that some of them DO make their own “homemade stuff” … but many actually buy a ready-mixed powder cheaply as the base)
I lined up one glass of Homemade Gatorade and Real Orange flavored Gatorade. I took a swig of fakey Gatorade. My first impressions were: “Gag”, “Retch”, “Bleahhrg” and “Barf” in that exact order.
After I recovered and got up off the floor, I washed out my mouth with water and drank some of the real Gatorade. The difference is pretty much what you expect. I guess they’re not lying about those years of research spent perfecting it.
Real Gatorade tastes like Gatorade.. it also has a smoother feel to it which I suspect comes from them using corn syrup or fructose or whatever it is to make it easier to drink. Fakey Homemade Gatorade tastes like Orange Flavored Ocean (trademark pending).
I guess one of the only bright things about the homemade stuff is that it doesn’t have all that artificial coloring. That’s definitely evident when looking at the picture.
Ok, so this shouldn’t be surprising. Actually, my main complaint was that there wasn’t enough “taste” to the orange flavored ocean. So I tried dumping in some more orange juice and found the going to be much better. A bit more sugar helped too. At 1 1/2 cups of OJ it actually started to be drinkable. I ended up taking a small amount in a jar to rollerhockey and didn’t suffer any ill effects from ingesting it.
I think it would have been better with even more OJ flavoring. However, adding more OJ has it’s issues… I know all that citric acid is not supposed to be that good for some people when exercising. Causes stomach and heartburn issues? Also, at some point the economical benefits of making your own Sports Drink are going to be cancelled out by adding that much OJ. At that point, you’re better off buying the Kirkland brand (CostCo) of sports drink. Which is not too bad, by the way.
I’m not saying I’m never going to go “mad scientist” again on Cheap Eats, but I think there are certain things that you just might be better buying at the store instead of trying to save a few pennies. I think Gatorade definitely qualifies, at least for me. Though 18 cents for two litres of the homemade stuff is mighty cheap…
Cheap Eats Score: 3/10