Gingerade: An Old-Fashioned Homemade Sports Drink

Conventional sports drinks contain ingredients that aren’t good for your body. Leave them on the shelf and try a homemade electrolyte sports drink instead–Gingerade!

Water is awesome, but sometimes on those extra hot days when you’re working extra hard, you need something extra. In this situation, many people just grab a Powerade or Gatorade to re-hydrate. These two sports beverages are mostly water, of course, but they also provide some carbs, sugar, and minerals to replenish your system.

Unfortunately, the sugar that Powerade provides is mostly in the form of high fructose corn syrup, which is one of the top ten ingredients I try to avoid. Gatorade doesn’t have high fructose corn syrup, but it doesn’t have as many vitamins and minerals as Powerade does. It would appear to be a toss up between the two–that is, unless you’re willing to try an alternative sports drink like homemade “Gingerade”!

The idea for a homemade sports drink came about when Eric and I were at the grocery store, trying to choose a Gatorade flavour. The Gatorades were on sale, but still, Eric would’ve finished off a few bottles in no time. He suggested that we make our own alternative drink instead–something frugal.

A memory lept into my brain of an odd but strangely alluring beverage that I tasted when I was young.

The drink was from The Little House Cookbook by Barbara Walker, inspired from the recipes mentioned by Laura Ingalls Wilder in her books. We cooked through every single recipe with Mom when we were kids. (If there were blogs back then, that would’ve made a good one!)

When we got home from the store, I found the recipe, researched its health benefits and made my own version. I was excited to learn that the ingredients in my recipe contain ALL of the benefits of Powerade and Gatorade, plus much more.

A homemade Gingerade sports drink contains sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium (all touted by Powerade) as well as multiple B vitamins, vitamin C, iron, a few carbs, protein, amino acids, antioxidants, and enzymes. In addition, it’s sweetened with honey, which has a mild effect on blood sugar (unlike high fructose corn syrup).

Drink this gingerade any time you need intense hydration after working/playing outside, and to replenish your electrolytes after a workout.

Gingerade: An Old-Fashioned Homemade Sports Drink


  • 1 inch fresh ginger root or more, if you like a stronger flavour!
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup raw honey
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar*
  • filtered water


  1. Mince the ginger. Put in a saucepan along with 4 cups of filtered water.
  2. Bring water to a boil. After water is boiling, turn down to a simmer; cover pot and let steep for at least 10 minutes.
  3. Pour the ginger water through a strainer over a half-gallon pitcher; squeeze ginger solids to release liquid.
  4. Stir in 1/4 cup of honey until dissolved.
  5. Add 1/4 cup of vinegar and fill the pitcher almost to the top with filtered water.
  6. Taste. Add more vinegar and honey if you desire a stronger drink.
  7. Chill gingerade thoroughly. The ginger flavour will deepen as the drink chills.

*This is the raw apple cider vinegar we always buy!

“Pa told Laura to drink first but not too much. Nothing was ever so good as that cool wetness going down her throat. At the taste of it she stopped in surprise and Carrie clapped her hands and cried out, laughing, ‘Don’t tell, Laura, don’t tell till Pa tastes it!’

“Ma had sent them ginger-water. She had sweetened the cool well-water with sugar, flavored it with vinegar, and put in plenty of ginger to warm their stomachs so they could drink till they were not thirsty. Ginger-water would not make them sick, as plain cold water would when they were so hot. Such a treat made that ordinary day into a special day, the first day that Laura helped in the haying.”

– from The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Here are more homemade, refreshing, and healthy drink recipes you’ll enjoy:

Blueberry Cordial

Raspberry Ginger Iced Green Tea

Watermelon Limeade

Peach Almond Smoothie

Easy Orange Julius

Strawberry Cantaloupe Smoothie


  1. I always wanted to make this, because it sounded so good in the book! Next summer, for sure, if not sooner! I have GOT to buy fresh ginger…

  2. Oh Elsie, you are SUCH a kindred spirit! I was looking through your drinks for my coffee round up and found this. We literaly posted our recipes days a part with the same quote! We also created almost identical recipes! 🙂 We both even ditched the sugar for raw honey.

    I loved that book! My mom cooked many recipes from it with us growing up. I finally bought my own copy a few years ago, maybe it was the summer of 2011. I think you should cook through it with your kids someday and write a blog about it. 😉

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