It is hot chocolate season! The most coveted drink of the winter months! And with the holidays here, it is the perfect time to dress up your hot cocoa with all the festive toppings of the season! So why not turn your favorite holiday drink into a theme for a holiday or Christmas party!
Now I know in 2020 the word “party” is a bit taboo. But throwing a party honestly means you plus one! So with three other people in my house, a hot chocolate party is one way to keep the spirit of the holidays alive this month!
Hot Chocolate Party Bar Ideas
Perhaps one of the reasons hot chocolate is loved by all ages is the warm memories it brings back from our childhood. Playing outside in the snow or ice skating with friends often meant the reward of hot chocolate being enjoyed afterwards. It could be as simple as Nestle hot cocoa mix or mom’s homemade hot chocolate on the stovetop. As long as there were plenty of marshmallows to add to your hot chocolate, you were happy!
But hot chocolate parties do not have to be just for kids! My teens and my adult self loves them too! There are fun ways to put a spin on each of them so they are unique no matter what the age!
After a festive winter outing, creating a DIY hot chocolate bar for kids to come home to is a great way to let them build their very own treat with all the fun toppings! Kids just want to be in charge so as the host, allowing them to choose from an assortment of hot cocoa mixes is the way to go! More fun for them! Less work for you!
As far as set up, line your kitchen table with craft paper and supply crayons for drawing. At each seat, fill small white bowls and mason jars with assorted toppings kids can add to their own hot cocoa. Hot chocolate mugs can be anything from ceramic mugs (Target has a great assortment of inexpensive festive ones), disposable ones with lids or mason jars. Once the kids have selected their cocoa mixes, come around and add hot water or milk to each one! From there, they will finish off with their toppings.
As the kids get older, they easily outgrow some of the traditions they might have enjoyed when they were little. My teens though still get so excited when I set up a hot cocoa bar. Even better when their friends are over to enjoy it!
When it comes to the teens, I like to set up a hot cocoa station at the kitchen counter with a few holiday decorations. Making and serving hot chocolate in a slow cooker, to go along with all the fun toppings, means the teens can come and go as they please while they hang out. Setting out a plate of other festive goodies adds to the fun! Cookies, cakes, gingerbread, salted caramel popcorn and donuts will help round out the offerings while making sure the teens are well fed and happy!
Yes, yes, yes, adults can get in on the action today! We just need a little jolt added into the mix! Along with all the other toppings, an array of libations to add to your hot cocoa is a fun way to cap off the evening at adult holiday parties. Grand Marnier, Peppermint Schnapps, Kahlula, Bailey’s Irish Cream and Amaretto are all fun creative add-ons that pair well with chocolate.
What to Put In a Hot Chocolate Party Bar
Even with all the fun toppings and festive set-up, the hot cocoa is the main event! Hot cocoa mixes absolutely work but consider ones using premium chocolate rather then cocoa powder for more authentic flavor. Williams Sonoma has a fabulous assortment of gourmet options:
For a scratch hot chocolate recipe, I think making hot chocolate in the slow cooker is the perfect way to serve it. It can easily be set up at your station allowing guests to ladle it into their mugs plus it will stay warm during the duration of your party.
Hot Chocolate Recipe
- 6 cups whole milk (1% or 2% are fine)
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup unsweetened natural or dutch-process cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Place all of the ingredients into a large slow cooker. Vigorously whisk to get the cocoa powder as mixed in as possible– you don’t want it all floating on the top. Keep whisking for a minute or two until it’s all combined.
- Cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 4 hours. Make sure you whisk it every 45 minutes to an hour to make sure the chocolate isn’t burning on the bottom.
- Store leftovers in the refrigerator and warm up on the stove or in the microwave.
Of course the most popular hot chocolate topping is marshmallows. Truth be told though, I think the standard ones at the grocery store shelf are so bland and dry. So much so, that I have actually considered trying making homemade marshmallows myself! But alas at a recent Trader Joe’s run, I picked up a bag of their marshmallows and wow, they are so so good! For a fun spin on marshmallows for the kids, again Williams Sonoma has some festive options:
What I love about candy canes are not only do they serve as stir sticks for your hot cocoa but they also melt into it, adding heavenly peppermint flavor! Little peppermint candy drops are another fun addition!
As an additional option to the candy canes, chocolate and marshmallow sticks that melt into the hot chocolate can be served too!
The more creative and abundant toppings add-ons there are, the more fun it is! Honestly just about anything goes! Green and red M&M’s, holiday sprinkles, white chocolate pretzels, chocolate chips, chocolate shavings, drizzled caramel and of course plenty of whipped cream!
Glass bowls, various sized white dishes, mason jars and platters and plates for extra goodies! If you are using a slow cooker, make sure to have a ladle and spoon rest for serving the hot chocolate! Mini scoopers are easier then spoons for serving toppings. I love the addition of festive mugs too! Next to toppings, this is my favorite part of the party! Each year I add 2-3 new holiday mugs into my collection. It is fun bringing them out each season! Target, Anthropologie (my Santa ones featured are sold out) and Pottery Barn always have lots of festive options to choose from!
For more festive ideas this holiday season, head here!
Thanks for stopping by!