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.