Despite not having played a sport since high school, I became obsessed with Gatorade not too long ago. My roommate and I had a stocked fridge full of neon-colored plastic bottles, and it even got to the point where we joked about buying one of those huge Gatorade dispensers for the kitchen.
There is something weirdly satisfying and refreshing about sports drinks—especially after a run, on a hot day, and when you’re dehydrated or...maybe a little hungover (to be honest, I’m pretty sure that was the start of our obsession). That’s because they’re designed to replenish not just the water you’re missing but also the minerals known as electrolytes—sodium, chloride, potassium, calcium, and magnesium—that are essential for nerve and muscle function.
Problem is, when you down a sports drink, you’re not just getting electrolytes. You’re getting artificial colors and flavors, sweeteners, and other harmful ingredients.
It’s super easy to make homemade electrolyte and energy drinks—all you really need is the right flavor-to-water ratio and a little sea salt to balance out the minerals in your body. You can even re-create some of your favorite flavors.
So, rather than reaching for one of those neon bottles next time you feel dehydrated, just mix up a batch of DIY (non-neon, but still pretty) sports drink. You’ll avoid all the artificial additives and avoid plastic bottles!
What You’ll Need
- Mason jar or BPA-free reusable water bottle (with lid) that can hold at least 22 oz
- Juice or tea
- Sea salt (the better the salt, the more minerals you’ll get)
- Honey or agave (optional)
How to Make Homemade Gatorade
Here’s the basic formula:
20 oz water + 1/2 teaspoon sea salt + about 1/4 cup juice or brewed tea + 1 teaspoon honey or agave (optional)
I simply put everything in a mason jar, shake it up a bit, and then keep any leftovers in the fridge for up to 2 days. (Make sure you re-shake before drinking the rest of it.)
It might sound weird to put salt in your water, but you won’t taste it as long as it’s mixed well. It really does taste just like Gatorade!
You can use as little as 2 tablespoons of juice or tea if you want a more subtle flavor.
Here are 7 homemade Gatorade flavors to get you started. Follow the formula above, making these adjustments:
1. Lemon-Lime (the original Gatorade)
Use the juice from ½ of a lemon and ½ of a lime.
Use the juice from 1 orange or 2 small tangerines.
3. Cucumber Melon
Instead of using juice, let 2 slices of cucumber and 3 large chunks of melon infuse in the water for an hour before adding the salt. You may not even need the honey for this combo.
Let 3 mint leaves infuse in the water for an hour before making the mixture, and use the juice of 1 lime.
5. Blueberry Pomegranate
Let a handful of blueberries infuse in the water for an hour before mixing, and use 2 tablespoons of pomegranate juice.
6. Fruit Punch
Use ¼ cup of brewed, cooled hibiscus tea (Tazo Passion is great), and add a tablespoon or so of fresh orange or lime juice.
Use ¼ cup of tart cherry juice—not concentrate! (I like Cheribundi.) And you may want to increase the honey on this one, depending on how tart you like your cherry flavor.
Have you ever made DIY Gatorade? What are your favorite flavors?
Photos by Ana Stanciu96