Utilizing footage shot by the members of the 2014 Blue Devils Front Ensemble, one piece of stock footage of a bubble, a song from the YouTube music library, and the loosest of narratives I’ve compiled a short documentary showing the life and times of this talented group of percussionists.
I somehow remembered to post a video every day I was on tour with the Blue Devils this summer. I only forgot to say “Tour Day __” once, so how about that?
Thank you everyone for another great summer of drum corps.
Elaborate: Only use whole packets. Dealing with open partially used powder packets is just asking for trouble.
Open powder packets are a huge hassle. Maybe you don’t mind hunting down a ziplock bag or a bag clip to hopefully keep the powder contained. This powder has had a taste of freedom and will stop at nothing to get as all over the place as possible at its soonest opportunity. Powder might get all over the container you keep your Gatorade supply leading to moisture finding its way onto all of the unopened packets creating a sugary goo which could attract hummingbirds who will inevitably peck their way into the other packets to get to the sweet sports nectar which will cause them to pass out or die due to a severe electrolyte imbalance and everyone will be depressed upon seeing the pile of hummingbird corpses that has formed next to the drink station. So if you insist on dealing with partial powder packets I suggest you invest in a small shovel. Don’t use a spatula from the kitchen, that’s terrible.
It’s easier just to use a whole packet and be done with it. No muss, no fuss, no dead hummingbirds.
There are basically two situations when you’ll need to make more Gatorade: the cooler is empty or there’s still some Gatorade left in the cooler. In either case, you should only make as much Gatorade as whole packets can make. Variables to keep in mind are how much Gatorade is left and how many coolers do you have.
I’ll start simple. One 10-gallon cooler, empty. Make seven gallons (or more depending on the flavor) and you’re done. “But then you’ll have to make the next batch sooner!” Even sooner than you think. Four gallons are consumed leaving three gallons in your cooler. Throw in another packet and make another seven gallons. Now you’re topped off at 10 gallons and can turn your attention elsewhere for a while. Best of all, you didn’t have to deal with a partial powder packet.
Add more coolers and the math is the same. Every pair of 10-gallon coolers you can use three whole packets. Odd cooler out you treat like the lone cooler in the above example. Use a whole packet to fill up whenever one of the coolers gets down to two or three gallons. Rinse and repeat. Literally rinse out the coolers whenever they’re empty, if not full on wash them.
At this point you might be wondering, “how am I supposed to get the flavors right if I use three packets to fill two coolers?” I’ll address that and more next time when I talk about color mixing.
Elaborate: Ice -> Powder -> Water -> Stir. Any other order and you’re asking for trouble.
For best results don’t deviate from this order of events.
First toss in a couple gallons of ice. Putting the ice in first means that it will cool down the water as you fill. “But that will make the ice melt!” and therefore make the drink cold. That’s the point. If all the ice melts before you finish making the batch, just add some more ice before you fill it to the top and take note for next time. Why do you want to avoid adding ice last? First, it reduces splashing especially if you have bigger clumps of ice. Second, as I already said it cools the water down as it fills so the drink is more uniformly cold from the first cup spouted out. Third…
Putting the ice in first creates a barrier that helps avoid powder accumulation on the bottom of your cooler. I’ll get more in-depth about the importance of this in a future post. Why not put the powder in after the water? You’ll end up getting a cloud of powder all over everything. Unless you can somehow keep everything dry, this means droplets of water becoming droplets of sticky Gatorade all over the area. The deeper in the cooler the pouring of powder takes place, the less product you waste. Yes there will still be a powder cloud, but just pop the lid back on for a few seconds as it settles. Also, if you add the powder first and someone desperately needs their electrolytes they can fill up from the mix-in-progress and then add the appropriate amount of water to finish their drink.
Now you’re ready to let the water flow. The stirring should actually take place during the filling, not after, to avoid the sludge situation and break up the ice. If you wait to do all of your stirring when the cooler is topped off you risk more spillage than if you do the harder stirring sometime during the 20-90% full range. Once the cooler is full you should only need a few gentle stirs. I go with
Note that your water source may vary. Most of the time you will use a hose. I prefer to use one without any attachments such as a spray gun or other nozzle type. This is because most drinking water hoses I’ve used are relatively weak and will burst with enough built up water pressure. This is very likely to happen if you use the nozzle at the end of the hose as your “on-off switch” instead of turning it on and off at the spigot. I have had very few hoses go bad since I stopped using spray guns/nozzles. Also, using a high pressure spray gives the illusion of the water doing a lot of the mixing. It doesn’t really do much mixing after the first gallon, and in the case of orange juice from concentrate it will just produce a lot of wasteful frothing.
Over time I have learned and mastered the art of using backup coolers full of water to make a quick mix. This is especially useful in the midst of a meal when corps members are thirsty and starting to tilt the jugs to get it to flow faster. I usually use whatever water is left over from rehearsal, otherwise I take some time when Gatorade supply is good just to fill up the backups. I don’t recommend filling a cooler to ten gallons using this method due to the risk of spillage. It is possible to pull off with practice, though. I’ll talk about this more in a future post about flavor mixing.
To do your stirring get a hold of a 36″ wooden stirring paddle (stainless steel transfers heat too well and will waste a bit of your ice’s cooling potential, as well as make your hands cold). Drill a hole in the end and get some string or a zip tie so you can hang it up when not in use, another reason to go with wood. Wash it and rinse it off often. Use it to fend off wild animals if necessary. Do not use it to scratch your sweaty back. Gross.
So follow these steps you will have the best time possible! Tune in next time when I’ll go into detail about partial powder packets.
Elaborate: Some flavors taste better watered down than others.
There are two main reasons to water down your Gatorade mix: save money and avoid dealing with partial packets. Watering down also naturally occurs when the ice in your mix melts.
Gatorade’s instructions suggest you place a gallon of ice in a sealed plastic bag in your 6 gallon mix of Gatorade. Not only does this take extra time, but a mere gallon of ice is rarely enough, especially when you want to maximize your 10-gallon cooler capacity. Just consider the ice as water in your mix calculation, chances are it will all melt by the time it’s consumed on a hot day anyway. The whole “how much ice?” thing is applicable to plain water as well, so I won’t get into that in this series of posts.
The following is based on 6 gallon packets of powder in 10-gallon coolers.
General rule: All flavors I’ve worked with still taste good at 7 gallons for one packet (14% diluted), and great at 10 gallons for one and a half packets (11% diluted). If you have an even number of Gatorade-dedicated coolers, this works great. But it’s the pesky odd cooler out where you want to consider how much to make depending on the flavor you use. Side note: Don’t make Gatorade in 5-gallon coolers unless you have to. More on that in a later post.
So that you don’t have to deal with open partially used packets, when you’re making a single cooler don’t make the full 10-gallons.
Orange – tastes good up to 8 gallons per packet (33% diluted!).
Grape, Fruit Punch, Lemon-Lime – tastes good up to 7.5 gallons per packet (25% diluted). I’ve only used Grape a few times, so test this for yourself.
Glacier Freeze – tastes decent up to 7.5 gallons per packet, but I recommend sticking to 7.
Riptide Rush – tastes good up to 7 gallons per packet. Do not confuse with Grape. Not all purple drinks are the same!
Of course your mileage may vary. There also may be other flavors available in 6 gallon packets, I just haven’t worked with them yet. Other brands of drink mix will obviously vary as well, the important thing here is the concept that not all flavors dilute the same, so experiment on your own to find that “sweet spot.”
From a purely economical standpoint your best bet is to only get Orange Gatorade, but everyone would get sick of that. So mix it up. Har har.
Tune in next time for the mixing sequence!