The holidays are the perfect time to get crafty and enjoy a cup of hot cocoa (has anyone tried the new flavors at Starbucks!?). So why not combine the two with a super cute DIY Holiday Hot Chocolate Bar! Skybox Event Productions created this setup to give all you party planners & gifters a great holiday party idea. Not only did they style an assorted hot cocoa bar, but also are sharing a hot chocolate in a jar recipe that you can gift to neighbors, hostesses, family or friends!
Find a place in your home that will be best suited for setting up your DIY Hot Chocolate Bar. Make sure that there will be enough room for the hot chocolate and the cups, but also all of the toppings.
We like to use three different textures that coordinate on our bar setups. For example, the fabric is one, another might be the use of wood cutting boards, and for last we might use glass bowls and cake stands. We also try to have varying heights. For example, place some of the toppings in boxes. Then, go around your house and gather a few holiday decorations to add in the back. Handmade signage is a great personal touch as well. They are easy items, but we think these things make the Hot Chocolate Bar extra special.
Ideally, using mugs that you already have on hand is the easiest option. But, if you don’t have enough mugs on hand, you’ll need to buy some. One option is to head to your local thrift store for Christmas mugs. Thrift stores usually have TONS of mugs and having an assortment of different mugs can add a fun look to your table.
If you’d rather not mess with glass mugs, or you’re going to be serving a large group, disposable coffee cups with lids are a great option. Additionally, basic white foam coffee cups are super inexpensive. Of course, using disposable cups also means you won’t have to wash mugs after your party.
We usually make our own homemade hot chocolate, which is actually really easy to do. Once it is made, we keep it heated in a slow cooker and use a ladle to pour it into cups for serving. Alternatively, you could also use a hot beverage dispenser.
If you don’t want to make it homemade, you can certainly use instant hot chocolate mix packets. They are an easier option and fairly inexpensive too. Place the packets in a nice basket or tin to keep them together. I actually used this green gift box since it was the perfect size. For a larger crowd, you might want to buy a multi-serving container of hot chocolate mix. This mix can be displayed in glass bowl or canister with a scoop. If you use the dry hot chocolate mix, you’ll need to have hot water handy, so I would recommend using a hot beverage dispenser.
If you have the time, and really want to impress your guests, homemade marshmallows are the way to go. They are easier to make than you might think and SO delicious. You can even cut them into fun shapes, like Christmas trees or snowflakes. My favorite is my homemade Peppermint Marshmallows. They are SO good in a cup of hot chocolate. But, while we absolutely adore homemade marshmallows, but you can’t beat a bag of mini marshmallows for the price and convenience. Many times we’ll grab a bag at the store and use those instead.
We tend to go bit overboard with toppings, but you don’t have to. The basics like marshmallows or chocolate chips are sufficient. If you want to go a step further, you can easily add some crushed candy canes.
If your able to spend a bit more, and want topping options, there are lots of toppings that you can pick up that require little or no prep. Some of the toppings we’ve enjoyed: chocolate chips, chocolate syrup, caramel syrup, caramels, coconut flakes, flavored syrups or creamers (traditionally used in coffee drinks), chopped candy bars, assorted sprinkles, and more. Just place each item in a bowl and you’re ready to go.
**If your DIY Hot Chocolate Bar is for adults, you might like the idea of a boozy hot chocolate. Offering some alcoholic mix-in – such as Kahlua, Bailey’s, and peppermint schnapps – is a fun option.
Hot Chocolate in a Jar Recipe
What a fantastic gift to give someone a hot chocolate recipe in a jar, and it’s great to make as well. Into each jar, layer cocoa powder, powdered milk, sugar, chocolate chips, candy cane, and marshmallow. Repeat with remaining jars and ingredients. Screw on the lids and affix a label with the instructions below:
To serve: Remove the marshmallows and mix together the remaining ingredients in the jar. Bring 1 cup of milk to a simmer over low heat. Mix and stir until completely combined. Pour into cups or mugs and top with marshmallows before serving
Peppermint Hot Chocolate
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ cup powdered milk
½ cup sugar
½ cup chocolate chips
½ cup candy cane, crushed
½ cup marshmallows