Prep Time: 5 min.
Difficulty: Easy
Yield: 64 ounces

Researchers at University of Florida’s College of Medicine developed Gatorade in 1965 when the head coach of the Florida Gators football team requested a specially designed drink that could replace lost fluids during hot weather games. With players pounding the new sports drink, the Gators went on to take their first Orange Bowl victory in 1967 against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. When the head coach of the Yellow Jackets was asked why his team lost, he said, “We didn’t have Gatorade. That made the difference.” Later that year, Gatorade became the official drink of the NFL. The secret to making Gatorade at home is not just about getting the flavor right but also about locating a simple source of the drink’s important supplemental ingredients, potassium and dextrose. Potassium (along with salt) replaces electrolytes that are lost when you sweat to ensure proper functioning of your brain and organs. I discovered that a good source of potassium is Morton’s salt substitute, which is made with potassium chloride. Most supermarkets should have it stocked near the salt. Dextrose, on the other hand, is a natural sugar that absorbs quickly into your body to restore muscles’ glycogen lost during physical activity. Bodybuilders and athletes use it during and after games and workouts to speed up recovery and stimulate muscle growth. Luckily, I was able to find the perfect product that added just the right amount of dextrose to 64 ounces of water and that also came in the perfect orange flavor: Willy Wonka Pixy Stix. Find the large 1-ounce size in the giant plastic straw, and grab two. I found them online for 50 cents each. Dump everything here into a 64-ounce pitcher of water, stir to dissolve, and in just a few minutes you’ll have the same taste and energy benefits of one of the two original flavors of Gatorade, but at about half the price.

2 quarts (8 cups) water
7 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 1-ounce (⅓ cup total) orange-flavored Willy Wonka Pixy Stix
½ teaspoon citric acid (aka sour salt)
¼ teaspoon orange-flavored unsweetened Kool-Aid powder
¼ teaspoon unflavored gelatin
 ⅛ teaspoon salt
 ⅛ teaspoon Morton’s salt substitute (potassium chloride)

Combine everything in a 2-quart pitcher and stir until all of the solid ingredients have dissolved. Serve cold.
The orange-flavored version of Gatorade was one of just two flavors sold for almost twenty years. The other was lemon-lime. The University of Florida receives 20 percent of Gatorade sales every year, which totals around $12 million annually.

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