A few summers back my parents hosted a block party, and somehow they ended up with a few cases of single serving sports drinks when the thing was over.
Since they had no use for them, they "gifted" them to me. You know that sort of "gift" don't you? The kind you're not allowed to refuse no matter how hard you try!
I wasn't thrilled about this at first - I mean this isn't exactly the sort of thing I would generally buy or consume. First of all it's full of sugar and artificial flavorings, it's a waste of money, and it comes in a single serving plastic bottle. An evil trifecta if ever there was one!
But I ended up with them so I decided to bring one along on a long bike ride and see what I thought.
Up until that moment I'd been a strictly water only girl on bike rides, but I pretty much became an instant sports drink convert. I mean, all of the above evilness still applies, but holy moly! When you're out on your bike for 4-5 hours at a time, replenishing calories and electrolytes really does make an impact in your stamina.
At that point I had a conundrum. I mean, to be gifted an evil beverage is one thing, but to actually go buy one is something completely different!
So I set out to see if I could come up with a recipe for making some myself.
I read a whole pile of stuff on the interwebs - including info from the World Health Organization - and I promptly got overwhelmed. Different people had very different views about how much of various salts and sugars one should use, and I started to get a bit paranoid about doing something "wrong."
But then I took a chill pill. I mean, we're talking about a drink to slurp while I'm on my bike, not life saving hydration therapy for some poor third world child with cholera or something. The difference in electrolytes from one recipe to the other was so trivial that one could easily more than make up for it by what one ate for dinner!
Soooo... after extensive obsessing, I settled upon this little formula. As near as I can figure it, the electrolyte balance is pretty close to that of a commercial sports drink.
First I mix up a salt solution including one part sea salt, one part Morton's Lite Salt (as opposed to the salt substitute - this one contains both sodium chloride and potassium chloride,) and one part baking soda (sodium bicarbonate.)
I store my little salt mixture in a jar, and when I'm ready to mix up a bottle of electrolyte drink I add a quarter teaspoon of the salt mixture, 3-4 teaspoons of sugar, and a slosh of lemon juice (a "slosh" comes out to about 2-3 tablespoons.) I dump that in the bike bottle and fill it up with filtered water, and voila! Salty lemonade!
My bike bottle is a bit larger than standard (27 oz as opposed to the standard 24,) so you might want to fiddle with the amounts a bit as well as adjusting for taste.
I don't generally bother with it in the winter time, but now that the warmer weather is here, this stuff is really a life saver!