The winter season holds a lot of opportunities to celebrate, and a hot chocolate bar is an obvious choice for the holiday season. It's warm, delicious, and fun for guests of all ages to make their own drinks — plus, it doesn't require much work on your end. You just need to set up some basic supplies and let everyone else have fun mixing up their own cups of cocoa!
Are you ready to get into hot chocolate season and plan your own hot cocoa bar? Let's do this!
- Hot Cocoa Mix
- chopped chocolate
- hot cocoa bombs
- Milk chocolate
Stock this with your favorite hot chocolate toppings! different toppings are a fun way for folks to customize their own delicious drink. Here are some ideas but you are only limited by your imagination!
Marshmallows: Marshmallows are an essential part of any hot chocolate bar! You can opt for various types of homemade marshmallows for your hot cocoa bar. For example, some people prefer the mini marshmallow's crispy texture, and some like their larger counterparts' softness.
Whatever you choose, make sure your marshmallows are the right size so they can melt quickly in hot water and blend with milk or cream while still maintaining their original shape.
Marshmallow fluff is excellent for adding fluffy sweetness to your cup of hot chocolate! This product comes in many flavors, including vanilla, chocolate (duh), strawberry-banana swirl—you name it!
Sprinkles: Sprinkles add color and flavor without adding calories — perfect for kids' parties! You can also use peppermint candies, tiny candy canes, or crushed peppermint candies instead of sprinkles.
Cocoa powder: This one's obvious — it's what makes the drink "hot cocoa!" You can also have chopped chocolate or chocolate chips if someone's looking add even more chocolate flavor in their mug
Herbs + Spices: this could be the sweetness of vanilla extract or heat of chili powder, or making a lavender simple syrup if you want to add in a different flavor.
Whipped Topping: a dollop of heavy whipping cream that's been aerated is my favorite hot cocoa topping. There are more options made with dairy products and plant-based.
Candy Canes: These add crunch and color—plus minty goodness that's sure to wake up anyone's tastebuds.
Nuts/Seeds: Nutritional value! A nice touch if you're looking for ways to boost health at your event without going overboard with a sweet treat.
Hot Chocolate For a Crowd
Now that you have your toppings and fixings, it's time to make hot chocolate for a crowd
- Slow cooker: you can premake your favorite decadent hot chocolate recipe and keep it warm in a slow cooker.
- Electric Kettle If your guests prefer water or would like hot water, having an electric kettle on hand
- Cups: you could have your pals bring their own mugs or feature your own collection, make sure to also offer paper coffee cups or another to-go option.
- Cake stands: building height into a display creates a focal point on a larger display, but if you are making a smaller hot chocolate charcuterie board (yep, it's an American thing-don't come for me France!) it's good to keep it simple.
- A centerpiece or cake plate: A cake plate will allow you to quickly move toppings around, and they usually come with a lid that makes storage easier. They're also nice because they are relatively large and can hold many fun toppings. Or go simple with a white ceramic dish or vase filled with fresh flowers for holiday parties!
- Cookie sheet: These come in handy if you don't have a cake plate. The downside is that cookie sheets tend to be smaller (which means less room for toppings), but it makes them easy to store when not used and clean up afterward.
- A tablecloth. If you want to add a little pizzazz to your hot cocoa bar with some color, buy one that coordinates with your theme or party's decor.
Setting up a DIY hot chocolate bar
Setting up an easy hot cocoa bar is a great way to make your guests feel special, and it's also a lot of fun! Here's how it works:
When you're hosting a holiday party, you want to make it as easy as possible for your guests to have fun. One way to do that? Set up an easy hot cocoa bar! Here are our tips for making your hot cocoa bar the talk of the party:
Gather supplies beforehand: You'll need marshmallows (mini ones are cute), chocolate sprinkles, whipped cream, marshmallow creme, cocoa powder (and maybe some sugar), and a container for mixing ingredients together. Don't forget the cups!
Prepare your space: You'll want an area on your kitchen counter or table where you can set up your bar and not worry about spills. Make sure it's close enough so guests will see it easily when they walk into the house! If you have space in another room (like a family room or living room), that will work too!
Set out bowls with each ingredient: Put one bowl with marshmallows in it, another with chocolate sprinkles, another with whipped cream—you get the idea!