At first I thought hot cocoa bars were only something you saw on Pinterest. That real people in real life didn’t actually have time to put one together. Then my friend (the one who actually inspired me to start this blog) threw a sledding party at her house, and had a hot cocoa bar. It was so fun, and didn’t seem too difficult! (This post contains affiliate links. Most of the words in orange are Amazon links that will take you to the products we used to create this party.)
It turns out that “bars” of any sort are actually easier than coming up with one thing that all your guests will enjoy. We did a sandwich bar at my son’s construction themed birthday party, and that was so much easier than putting together perfect little sandwiches for everybody. Customization is “hot” these days, and I’m pretty sure isn’t going anywhere. At least I hope it isn’t!
Back to the topic at hand though, hot cocoa… not sandwiches… not nachos… not pizza… not bloody marys (oh the possibilities are limitless). We ended up doing this for my son’s first birthday party. It was a “Winter Onederland” theme with snow and snowmen and such. The hot cocoa bar fit in perfectly.
How to Set Up the Perfect Hot Cocoa Bar
We set ours up on a buffet table in the dining room.
- First thing you’ll need is a package of cheap batting. One bag will do.
- Next, take a string of white Christmas lights and place them randomly around the table.
- Now spread the batting over the lights to look like snow.
- When the lights are plugged in the bar will look twinkly and magical.
Create Some Height
The great thing about using the batting as snow, is you can hide various props here and there. For instance, see how the second row of mason jars is higher than the first? Simply set them on top of an upside-down bowl to give them height.
Toppings and Mix-Ins
Now for the fun part. Pick your add-ons. Some of the classic toppings are:
- Crushed Peppermints or Candy Canes
- Peanut Butter Candy
- Mint Chips
- White Chocolate Chips
- Crushed Oreos
- Whipped Cream
Then I got some cute swing bottles with chalkboard labels to put some adult mixers in. Irish creme and coffee liquor are always yummy in hot cocoa. In hindsight I would have done peppermint schnapps as well.
For the cocoa, we heated up a big batch in a pot on the stove. We put it in a stainless caraffe on the bar, and kept the pot on the stove warm for quick refilling. Try this yummy dark chocolate hot cocoa recipe!
Finally, since it was a kids party we used white paper hot cups with a set of markers next to them so kids (and grown ups) could decorate and personalize their cocoa cups.
See how easy that was!
Here are some other awesome party ideas!