How to Set Up a Hot Cocoa Bar

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Holiday party hosting hack you must do in 2022

A wintertime must-have

Grab a blanket, your favorite mug, and some mini marshmallows because it’s the season for hot cocoa. But make it #posh edition. Negroni, sbagliato, if you will, in the form of hot chocolate. To set up for your holiday party or Christmas movie night, you need a hot cocoa bar for you and your guests to savor. Jot down these ideas for setting up the ideal sweet treat featuring a hot chocolate bar that people won’t get enough of.

Hosting hack for how to set up a hot chocolate bar

What you need:

Hosting Hack: We like disposable cups so you don’t have a million mugs to wash when the party’s over. However… see next hosting hack.

Hosting Hack II: Invite guests to bring their favorite mugs…it gives them a sense of involvement and something to look forward to. Plus, don’t we all have a story or sentiment about our favorite mug? Just us? Okay…moving forward.

Besides the basics, we know what truly matters are the topping options.

how to set up a hot chocolate bar


  • Shaved chocolate
  • Whipped cream
  • Peppermint sticks/candy canes
  • Peppermint crumbles/ crushed peppermint
  • Cinnamon
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Marshmallows (all sizes and flavors are welcome, we’re inclusive here)
  • Pirouette sticks
  • Chocolate sauce
  • Caramel sauce
  • Bailey’s 
  • Eggnog
  • Peppermint rumchata/peppermint liqueur
what to add to hot chocolate

How To Set It Up

  1. Write labels for the toppings: It’s decorative, and helps so you don’t have guests asking you what everything is.
  2. Tie red and white twine around the rim of mason jars. Secure with long tails to give them flair.
  3. Arrange your label tags. 
  1. Choose if you want labels to be attached as tags on mason jars, or to sit in front of each jar.
  2. If attaching label tags to jars, tie bows to secure tags around the rim as well. 
  3. If not attaching, you’ll set labels accordingly once all jars are arranged.
  1. Fill glass mason jars with toppings that make sense like chocolate sauce, marshmallows, peppermint sticks, etc.  Keep whipped cream in its canister if you like the swirl effect, and Bailey’s just tastes better when you can see the label.
  2. Drop cinnamon and cayenne pepper into spice shakers. *Be sure to label these!* A spicy surprise no one wants…
  3. Make sure every jar has a serving spoon.
  4. Arrange bottles of egg nog, Bailey’s etc into the layout of mason jars.
  5. Stack cups or mugs and scatter sleeves tastefully (yes, to match your hot cocoa that will also be…tasty)
  6. Keep a larger jar of hot cocoa mix on hand so there’s enough to go around (and go back for a second, or third cup…but who’s counting?) 
  7. When it comes to game time - I mean party time - heat up your electric kettle and let the cocoa be poured.

Just like that, your hot cocoa bar is steamin'. 

Vanilla Ice may have made it big when his single “Ice Ice Baby” dropped in 1990, but hot cocoa is here to make a comeback when you have a bar set-up styled like this. Did we say it? Oh yes we did. 2022: May it be the holiday season of hot cocoa hitting the charts.

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