The Best Mother's Day Gifts: Cookware, Food, and Cocktail Edition

[Photograph: Vicky Wasik]

I hate to admit this, but I forgot my mom's birthday this year. Sure, there are reasons why the day passed me by, but it was not my finest moment as a daughter. Luckily, my mom's birthday—which I obviously know is on February 25—doesn't fall too far from Mother's Day in the calendar year, and now I have the opportunity to make things right.

It's possible that some of you, too, are looking to get your mom something extra special this year, whether or not you're making up for past indiscretions. For that, I suggest finding a gift that speaks to her stomach and her heart—her passions for cooking, baking, cocktail-making, or food in general.

We've reinvigorated our Mother's Day gift guide for this year, and it's full of fantastic new options from all sorts of shops and purveyors. Below, you'll find a selection of my favorites, running the gamut from professional-grade knives to tasty specialty food products.

So here's to you, Mom. I'm sorry I forgot your birthday—but I did dedicate a whole post to you. Plus, you can expect one of these gifts to arrive in the mail very much on time for Mother's Day.

A Mesmerizing Bundt Pan (or Just the Cake!)

Stella wrote a post recently on how to make a Bundt cake, including tips to ensure that your cake releases cleanly from the mold for the best possible presentation. If you've never made a Bundt before, the gorgeous photos of Stella's cakes in some of her preferred pans will be enough to convince you to try it, and maybe even perfect your technique in time for Mother's Day.

These pans come in a variety of hypnotic shapes, with ridges and waves that produce eye-catching designs. If your mom is into baking, one of these will definitely make a lovely gift. But if she's more of a "you bake, I eat" sort of person, like my mom, order a pretty Bundt pan for yourself, such as Nordic Ware's Heritage Bundt Pan, and make her a cake of her choosing.

An Italian Nutella Upgrade

Sasha and Ed recently took a trip up to the Bronx to visit the Gustiamo warehouse, and they brought back a whole lot of Italian treats for the office. Among them was the most luxurious chocolate-hazelnut spread I've ever had, from Amaro by Italian chocolatier Marco Colzani.

Amaro's spread certainly isn't as cheap as the supermarket variety, but it helps that its only ingredients are toasted IGP hazelnuts from the Piedmont region, cacao, and cane sugar. No oils or preservatives—just the good stuff. And if Mom isn't a chocolate fan, Ed and Sasha both highly recommend Amaro's pistachio spread as well. In Ed's words, "It'll change your life."

An Ice Cream Machine

There are some moms—I'm not naming any names—who just might love ice cream more than their children, and, to be fair, eating homemade ice cream may indeed be more enjoyable than spending time with a kid who forgets your birthday. (Ice cream never forgets.)

Instead of furthering her Talenti habit, my mom would do well to try making her own ice cream at home. I'd probably get her a simple canister model, like the Cuisinart ICE-21—the top pick from our review of the best ice cream machines—but if you really want to splurge, a compressor model, like the Cuisinart ICE-100, whips up ice cream almost too easily, without any pre-freezing or long wait times.

A Professional-Grade Coffee Grinder

If your mom doesn't currently grind her own coffee beans, getting her a coffee grinder will unquestionably improve her drinking experience and her morning. Pre-ground coffee, like pre-ground black pepper, just doesn't compare to the fresh stuff.

In our recent look at the best coffee grinders on the market, we realized that "the best" machine means different things to different drinkers. If she's a real coffee geek, you may want to splurge on the Baratza Virtuoso burr grinder, but I think the Baratza Encore, which is about $90 cheaper, makes a perfectly thoughtful gift.

A Serious Chef's Knife

It's possible that my mom is still using the same knives she had when I was growing up. If she keeps them sharp enough, that's not really an issue. But a nice knife upgrade could be just the thing to make her cooking experience better.

We recently published a roundup of the best essential knives for your kitchen, but the most essential of all is the chef's knife, hands down. You can choose either a Western or a Japanese style here—the differences lie in their weight and shape—but for my mom, I think I'll go with a Western-style blade, since it's the one I use at home. Then I can tell her we're twinsies.

A Mortar and Pestle

Mortars and pestles are among the few cookware items that are often as beautiful as they are functional. Using one won't just pulverize your ingredients into oblivion; it'll transform them, combining them into the most glorious pesto and emulsified Thai curry paste. Sure, it takes a bit of elbow grease to use a mortar and pestle, but it could be a great way for Mom to pound out her frustrations—like if she's mad that you forgot her birthday or something.

A Reliable Hand Blender

If Mom is more of a wants-things-done-at-the-push-of-a-button kind of woman, well, that's just fine, too. Get her a trusty All-Clad Stainless Steel Immersion Blender, made by one of our all-time favorite brands. At just under $100, it's much cheaper than most of All-Clad's cookware, making this gift a bit like getting her a coin purse from Chanel, but way more affordable (and useful, if I'm being honest).

Batch Cocktails for Her and Hers

My mom doesn't drink very much, and when she does, it's always the same: a Tito's martini with the juice of a full lemon. A full lemon! It might be time to broaden her horizons, and for that, I'll go to Serious Eats' former managing editor and drinks editor, Maggie Hoffman. She recently released a book that's all about batch cocktails, which is useful for many reasons: It'll be a fun resource we can use together, it'll give us an opportunity to drink, and it may help delay the inevitable lemon shortage coming to Boston.

For more recommendations, head on over to our Mother's Day gift guide. Happy Mother's Day, everyone!