For CT scans, typically a 2-3% solution of gastrografin (sodium amidotrizoate and meglumine amidotrizoate) is used. In its native form it tastes like the water from a vase with 1 wk old flowers. When mixed into something like crystal-lite or gatorade it becomes quite innocuous. Alernatively IV contrast preparations in similar dilution can be used. The cheapest ones available are the ionic contrast agents like Hypaque or Conray. Hypaque tastes fairly bitter with an unpleasant aftertaste of Aniz (Ouzo for the alcohol expert).
For patients with intolerance to iodine contrasts there is a barium based oral CT contrast preparation. It contains only traces of barium and tastes acceptable (EZ-EM).
For CT scans done with IV contrast on the latest generation scanners, water or any fructose sweetened noncarbonated beverage (e.g. nestea) will give excellent enteric contrast.
Contrast for upper GI studies is 40-60% Barium sulfate slurry. The flavour is most fittingly described as 'chalk'. The commercial preparation comes with sugar and food flavouring, turning it into 'strawberry chalk' or 'vanilla chalk'. It is not the taste that kills you, it is the horrid texture.