My Ideal Hot Cocoa Bar Setup

hot cocoa bar tutorial

Hosting a Holiday party can be a whole lot of work. From curating the perfect playlist to decorating, planning out your tablescape, and coming up with fun activities, your to-do list can get long real quick. I’ve got one idea for you that’s guaranteed to be a hit for your guests of all ages: a festive hot cocoa bar! Not only is it a whole lot of fun and tasty as can be, setting it all up requires very minimal effort. 

how to set up a hot cocoa bar
loaded hot cocoa recipe

You can customize the toppings any way you’d like, but here are some of my absolute faves to inspire you (all pictured in that loaded cup of cocoa!): candy cane bits, brownie chunks, Belgian Boy Stroopwafels, mini marshmallows, and Oh Snow Cute sprinkles by SprinklePop for some added flavor and fun. You can use any sprinkles in your hot cocoa bar setup, but I love this Wintery mix. The color scheme is so much fun and the tiny snowmen and snowflakes are perfect for celebrating the Holiday season. Plus, the larger spherical sprinkles are made of chocolate (they’re Sixlets!), so they’re great for adding a little crunch and sweetness. 

hot cocoa recipe for hot cocoa bar

After coming up with my ideal list of toppings, I displayed them all in mason jars and added some touches of Holiday decor. I basically borrowed a few sprigs from my Christmas tree and some faux holly, berries, and pine cones. Easy as can be! 

Here’s a little video to show you how I made my ideal cup of hot cocoa, so be sure to give it a watch for inspiration before you read all about how to replicate my hot cocoa bar setup below:

You Will Need

Hot Cocoa Bar Setup 

Note that the list above is all suggested. You can tailor this hot cocoa bar to any topping list you want! Once you figure out the number of toppings you’ll have, add each one to a separate mason jar or container of your choice. I went with mason jars because they’re so easy to find and I love being able to see the toppings through the clear glass. 

topping ideas for hot cocoa bar

To create this fun display, I divided my topping-filled mason jars full into two rows and slightly elevated the back row with a couple pieces of white wood I had leftover from a house project. Then, I decorated around the jars with sprigs of holly and pine. So festive and pretty! 

hot cocoa bar ideas

Prior to your guests arriving, all that’s left to do is make sure that you have hot water or milk readily available, or pre-mix the hot cocoa and keep it in a thermos at the hot cocoa bar for an even easier experience. Set out some mugs for your guests and let them go crazy adding all the toppings they want! 

The Tastiest Hot Cocoa Recipe

To inspire you with topping and decorating ideas, here’s how I chose to create my loaded cup of cocoa:

Create a White Chocolate Peppermint Rim (Optional)

First, I melted some white chocolate and waited for it to cool to about 80 degrees before piping it onto the rim of my cup with a piping bag.

how to create white chocolate rim

I waited about five minutes for the chocolate to set slightly and then dipped it into some candy cane bits

crushed candy cane drink rim

You can use any type of chocolate you want for this part and can also create the peppermint rim on all of the guest mugs ahead of time if you’re into the look! The white chocolate peppermint adds such a fun texture and flavor to the whole cocoa experience. 

Add the Hot Cocoa

Next, I added a few tablespoons of instant hot cocoa to the mug, poured boiling hot milk over the top, and stirred it all together. 

hot cocoa bar inspiration

Like I mentioned before, if you have a lot of guests it might be worth pre-mixing the hot cocoa and keeping it in a thermos for easy access.

Add the Toppings

After adding the hot cocoa, the fun of getting creative with toppings can begin! I added a layer of mini marshmallows and swirled some whipped cream on top.

whipped cream on hot cocoa

Then, I stuck some brownie bits into the whipped cream and added a generous amount of Oh Snow Cute Sprinkles.

brownie topped hot cocoa
sprinkle hot cocoa

Finally, top the cocoa creation with a piece of Belgian Boy Stroopwafel. Boom. Best cocoa ever! 

hot cocoa recipe with toppings

Your hot cocoa bar can be as customized as you want. Other suggestions for your topping list: caramel sauce, whole candy canes, bite sized cookies, flavored syrups, cinnamon, mini chocolate chips, and any SprinklePop sprinkle mix that you’re drawn to!

hot cocoa with stroopwafels, brownies, sprinkles

What would you top your hot cocoa with? Let me know in the comments!

Disclaimer: I was compensated by SprinklePop for my work of creating this project, styling, filming, photographing, and writing about their products. As always, all opinions are honest and my own. Thank you for supporting brands that support Sugar & Sparrow.

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