There isn't much worse than being on the bike and bonking. Except maybe being on the bike and trying to drink something that just flat ass tastes nasty. Or the stuff that leaves sludge in your bottle. Or the stuff that gatorslimes your bike. Yeah, you know what I'm talking about.
Here are my favorites for good stuff to drink:
Ice tea. Its cheap, you whip it up yourself and depending on the length of the ride, you can make it hot, diet, cold whatever. All in all ice tea is great, except for the fact that it goes right thru you.
Infinit: this small company custom makes drink powder. Want it sweeter? Want it less sweet, saltier, more protein? They have standard formulas for the tri folks, crit racing, centuries, recovery etc... but you can call them up and work with them (or do it on line to make your own special blend) to make your drink exactly like you want it. And if you cant stand what they send you... they'll reformulate it for free. I have a special summer blend that I like... J says that it tastes like a salt lick. But in the summer, since I dont eat salt in most of my food, I need a little extra. I cant stand it in winter, and usually go back to hot tea...
Gatoraide, you cant beat it for convenience. My favorite? Sharon usually has a frozen bottle of this Tiger stuff- its green, and frozen it tastes like a lime slushie. Yum. Drink it, rub the bottle on you to cool off, its all good. I can drink most flavors of Gatoraide all right except lemon lime. Good thing there are so many flavors to choose from, conveniently located at every gas station you can find. What I really hate though... gatorburps. Nuff said.
Now the good/bad ones... like Accelerade. I like that Accelerade is complete. But... it trashes my bottles. The residue is impossible to get off, and sometimes unless I cut it, it makes me feel like I'm drinking a lead weight. Forget drinking this stuff when it gets hot. But... on the days I can handle it, it keeps me going better than anything else.
Red Bull... this stuff should be illegal. I get terrible Red Bull indigestion. Burp!
Powerade... just nasty. Its too sweet.
G2- diet gatoraide... what's the point?
Best recovery drink? Chocolate milk. Its full of protein, carbs, and CHOCOLATE! There just isn't anything like it for that wonderful comfort food feeling. Plus it does wonders for upset tummies.