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How to Make Homemade Gatorade

Sports drinks don’t need to be complicated. Skip the store-bought stuff and make your own.
By Published Oct. 4, 2022

Head to the sports drink aisle at your grocery store and you’ll be bombarded by rows upon rows of plastic bottles filled with liquids in neon colors, overwhelming ingredient lists, and flavors that are better known by their color than their actual taste. 

But it turns out, an electrolyte drink doesn’t have to be complicated (or bright blue) to do what it’s intended: replenish fluids and electrolytes lost during intense exercise. 

During recipe development for our cookbook, Everyday Athlete, we happily discovered that you can make flavorful sports drinks at home from just four ingredients—and you likely already have two on hand.

165 Recipes to Boost Energy, Performance, and Recovery

The Everyday Athlete

In conjunction with clinical dietician and nutritionist Alicia Romano, we developed recipes to give you energy and endurance for the activities you love.

You may think that water is your best bet for hydration, but sports drinks (like Gatorade) are doing a lot more heavy lifting hydrationwise. When exercising, you need more than just water.

But the essential components of a sports drink are pretty simple. You need just three things:

  1. Water for hydration.
  2. Sodium to replenish electrolytes. (Other electrolytes like magnesium, potassium, and calcium are lost in much smaller amounts and are generally best obtained through a healthy diet.)
  3. Carbohydrates to provide fuel for extended exercise.

Table salt took care of sodium and granulated sugar checked the carbohydrate box, but a mixture of just water, salt, and sugar alone isn’t going to taste very good.

To add flavor, we relied on two key ingredients: freeze-dried fruit and citric acid.

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We’ve utilized freeze-dried fruit’s concentrated “just-picked” fruitiness in everything from fruit-infused liqueurs to the best strawberry frosting. Here, it was the perfect way to provide intense fruity flavors and gorgeous colors while still being shelf-stable. 

Grinding the freeze-dried fruit into a fine powder in a blender or spice grinder allowed us to create a ready-to-use drink powder that would be available whenever we needed.

Powdered citric acid balanced the sweet and salty flavors of our drink. It’s also a useful ingredient to have on hand for many other uses (add a bit to your next batch of guacamole and you’ll never get brown guac again).

Mix it all together, and you’ve created a ready-to-use sports drink powder that is as functional as it is flavorful. Combine a scoop with water, and shake for instant, and delicious, refreshment.

Strawberry Electrolyte Refresher

Makes ⅔ cup dry mix, enough for 8 drinks

Total Time: 15 minutes

  • ½ cup (½ ounce) freeze-dried strawberries
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon citric acid
  • ½ teaspoon table salt
  • ½ teaspoon dried mint (optional)

  1. Process all ingredients in blender until finely ground, about 30 seconds, scraping down sides of blender jar as needed. Using fine-mesh strainer, sift mixture into large bowl; discard any seeds and remaining fruit pieces. Transfer to storage container with tight-fitting lid. (Dry mix can be stored in airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks. Break up any clumps before using.)
  2. To drink, combine 8 ounces water and 1 rounded tablespoon dry mix in 2- to 4-cup beverage container with tight-fitting lid. Seal container and shake vigorously until refresher mix is fully combined (fruit powder will not dissolve), about 30 seconds. Serve.

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