I’m always looking for ways to make nearly everything at home. Many pregnancies ago, my midwife gave me a recipe for “Labor Aid”. I changed it up a bit and made up my own version. It worked so well for me during labor! My husband wanted to try it, and the midwife told him, “Sure – ANYONE can drink it!” It kept him going on hot summer days here in Florida when he was working outside for 8 hours clearing brush, building barns, and installing fences for our animals. Usually after a Saturday like that, he’d come inside, sit down, and fall asleep in a chair. Don’t get me wrong – he’d been drinking plenty of water! Then one Saturday I kept him supplied with ice-cold Laborade (renamed since he told me it tasted like lemon-lime Gatorade). He drank about 1.5 gallons. When he came inside I told him I needed to do some quick shopping. He said, “Let’s ALL go!” We loaded up and went, and had a great time! I was amazed at the energy he had. He simply said to keep him supplied with Laborade.
So, here’s the basic recipe to make one gallon:
1 cup lemon juice (fresh or bottled)
2 tablespoons lime juice (can omit – but is the key to great taste)
2/3 to 1 cup sugar (or 1/3 to 1/2 cup honey)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Water and ice to make 1 gallon
- Used to use white sugar for this, but now am switching to honey, so you may need to tweak the measurement.
- Sea salt is best for extra trace minerals. I use Real Salt or Celtic salt.
- The original recipe called for one crushed calcium tablet, but it left “floaties.” Perhaps a powdered calcium/magnesium supplement would work instead, from a natural source.
- A friend of mine commented that perhaps potassium bicarbonate would be better than sodium bicarbonate. I never followed up on this, but am told you can get it from drugstores.
Mass production: This worked so well for our family, that the children would drink it when they were outside helping Daddy. We were going through gallons and gallons! It tasted better freshly made. So I developed a concentrate to make the process faster.
Laborade concentrate (will make a total of 4 gallons Laborade):
1 quart lemon juice
1/2 cup lime juice
2-2/3 cup sugar (or 1-1/3 cup honey)
4 teaspoons salt
DO NOT ADD BAKING SODA YET. I did the first time, and learned not to.
Water to equal 8 cups.
Stir well. The extra water helps the sugar to dissolve, and makes measuring the concentrate easier. You should now have 8 cups of concentrate. Wash your hands, and watch out of the corner of your eye to see if your children taste it – the results will be amusing, I promise! I used empty plastic bottles to hold 2 cups of concentrate which would make a gallon of Laborade. Lastly, I posted a little chart to make smaller amounts, since we discovered that the laborade didn’t taste as good if leftovers were saved till the next day. If using outside, keep in a cooler with ice.
For the amounts below: add concentrate and baking soda, then add water and ice to equal desired amount.
- One gallon: add 2 cups concentrate, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 gallon: add 1 cup concentrate, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 quart: add 1/2 cup concentrate, 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
Of course, if you need four gallons – pour all 8 cups of concentrate and 2 teaspoons baking soda into a 5 gallon bucket (we have one that we made into a dispenser by adding a spigot). I will usually add a little more water and ice to make almost 5 gallons when we have get-togethers on hot days – everyone loves it and no one gets heat exhaustion.
One last tip – When my children are sick, I will make one quart of Laborade, water it down to make 2 quarts, and use it like an electrolyte solution.