Growing up with eight brothers and sisters, Diana Bratton recalls hours spent helping her mother in the kitchen. Years later, after receiving her culinary degree from El Centro College in Dallas, Texas, as well as time spent studying in California, Bratton landed in Hot Springs. It was here that she began making and serving her own creations, and in 1997 founded Café 1217. The restaurant’s “gourmet-on-the-go” style is inspired by what Bratton calls “truly fresh” ingredients—so fresh, she changes the menu monthly.
In 2008, Bratton collected more than 500 of her favorite recipes and published her first cookbook, The Original Cafe 1217 Cookbook. Her recipe for Apple Lemon Ginger Juice is a popular beverage from the compilation, and is also served seasonally at the café. The sweet and tangy juice is perfect for spring entertaining, and she often serves it in place of punch at weddings and events.
Café 1217’s Apple Lemon Ginger Juice
Recipe yields three quarts
2 cups sugar
3 cups water
1 quart organic apple juice
3 cups fresh-squeezed lemon juice
8 ounces cranberry juice
3 tablespoons fresh ginger, finely grated
fresh mint for garnish
In a stock pot, heat the water and sugar together until sugar dissolves. Let stand until the sugar water has cooled thoroughly, and then add remaining ingredients, stirring well. Refrigerate and serve over ice with sprigs of fresh mint.
Cafe 1217, Hot Springs, (501) 318-1094, cafe1217.net