Mother’s Day Menu: Appetizers and Cocktails

Mother’s Day appetizers table

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Have plans for Mother’s Day? Why not celebrate the women in your life with food and drink as colorful as they are? We’ve partnered with Nikki Baxendale, founder of Literally Life, to see how to create appetizers and cocktails perfect for a Mother’s Day menu.

This is part two of our Mother’s Day series. See recipes for Mother’s Day desserts, including cupcakes, meringues, and white chocolate brittle.

Mother’s Day is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the ladies who have helped shape our lives. This year, my twin girls Chloe and Lily had both Grandma, who was visiting us from England, and their fabulous teachers from St. Mark’s Preschool join them in a colorful feast filled with giggles and treats. These women brighten up their day and make their whole world feel like home.

Mother's day family
Mother's day toast

When planning an event, I always begin with the color palette and theme. Chloe and Lily were eager to help me choose the colors, pointing out the beautiful spring blooms in our garden. We decided the cheerful colors of sorbet, brought to life with the new spring collection from Crate and Barrel, would set the scene. Since the ladies in our family love to share small plates and try new recipes, we thought it would be fun to carry this style throughout the menu, offering a kaleidoscope of colors and flavors.

Sumptuous Savories

Mother's day tea sandwiches

Even the simplest things can look fabulous with a touch of creativity, and our bunting bites added an English twist to this festive occasion.

Goat Cheese, Pear and Pecan Phyllo Cups

Goat cheese pear pecan phyllo

These little phyllo cups tasted every bit as fabulous as they looked on this beautiful, vibrant butterfly serving platter.


  • 1 box of phyllo pastry sheets cut into 4-inch squares
  • 2 cups melted butter
  • Crumbled goat cheese
  • 2 ripe but still firm Bartlett pears — quartered, cored and sliced into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • Coarse black pepper


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Working very fast to avoid the phyllo drying out, use four squares per cup. Brush each layer with butter before placing the next sheet, turning to create a flower shape. I usually lay a damp dish cloth over the unused phyllo to keep it moist.

Once your cup is formed, gently press them into a cupcake tray. Bake until lightly golden. Meanwhile, prepare the candied pecans.

Melt two tablespoons of butter in a frying pan over low heat, add pecans and toss to coat. Add brown sugar and stir, watching closely, until they are melted and caramelized (about two minutes). Remove from heat and continue browning in pan for another minute. Remove from pan and cool pecans on parchment paper. While they are still sticky and not yet cool, sprinkle with a little coarse black pepper.

When phyllo cups have cooled, fill them with a heaping tablespoon of goat cheese and sprinkle with chopped candied pepper pecans. Lastly, arrange two slices of pears to look like butterfly wings on top of the goat cheese.

Enjoy this crumbly delicious treat with a hint of spice.

Mozzarella, Grape Tomato and Basil Skewers

caprese skewers

For another quick treat with a pop of color, you can create a batch of mozzarella, grape tomato and basil skewers.


  • Grape tomatoes
  • Mozzarella pearls
  • Fresh basil


Simply slice about 1/3 of the top of each grape tomato off and slide the tomato onto the skewer. Follow up with a basil leaf, then a mozzarella pearl and another basil leaf. Finish with the remainder of the sliced tomato. Displayed in Josie glasses, these sticks add the finishing accent color.

Refreshing Drink Recipes

Mother's day cocktails

Our colorful mix of Mother’s Day cocktails and refreshers were showcased in a variety of drinkware.

Palate cleanser display

Along with our Mother’s Day appetizers, we offered our guests a healthy shot I like to call “sweet relief.” To refresh, I used a mix of honeydew melon, cucumber, mint, green apple, lemon and coconut water. To energize, I blended blackberries, raspberries, ginger, key lime and coconut water. These were very popular and helped balance out the treats that followed.

Prosecco raspberry cocktail
Prosecco lemon cocktail

For a lighter Mother’s Day cocktail option, I used Prosecco as the base for the cocktails and sparkling fruit blends. In beautiful tall glasses, we served two varieties—one with raspberries and a large sprig of rosemary, and one with a spiral of lemon rind and a rim rubbed with lemon zest.


Key lime soda and sparkling strawberry water with a confetti of lemon, cucumber and mint leaves were also served in these Josie glasses. The girls enjoyed feeling very grown up with their own mocktails.

Blackberry Mint Julep Recipe

Blackberry mint julep cocktail

I just love these mint julep cups. Adding the silver touches really balanced the color of the table. Our blackberry and elderflower mint julep offers a twist on an old favorite.


  • Crushed ice
  • ½ cup blackberries
  • 4 tbsp torn mint leaves
  • 2 tbsp elderflower cordial (I use this instead of the traditional simple sugar)
  • 3 oz bourbon (optional)
  • Prosecco
  • A generous amount of mint sprigs and blackberries to decorate


Fill julep cups 3/4 full with crushed ice and set aside. Using a muddler, mash your mint leaves, blackberries and elderflower cordial in a shaker. Add in one cup of crushed ice, along with bourbon if you’d like. Shake well.

Pour shaker contents through a strainer and into the julep cups until half full. Top off with Prosecco and stir gently to combine.

Before serving, decorate with a large mint sprig and blackberry. Enjoy! These really are so delicious and have a really stunning color combination.

Mother's Day meal

Of course, no soiree is complete without something sweet. Check back next week to see how to create a beautiful cupcake centerpiece complete with meringue, coconut cupcakes and white chocolate brittle.

Attending a Mother’s Day brunch? Find gifts perfect for the host on Crate and Barrel’s Pinterest board.


  1. […] This is part two of our Mother’s Day series. See recipes for Mother’s Day appetizers and cocktails. […]

    May 1, 2015 | Reply

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