It’s that busy ho-ho-ho! time of year. Last minute Christmas shopping, invitations to holiday parties, wrapping presents and preparing our home for entertaining. The holiday season inspires the entertaining spirit within me. For a casual get-together, I like to keep it easy without all the hustle and bustle. A simple Christmas party idea is to host a ‘Hot Cocoa Dessert Bar’ for family and/or friends! In today’s post, I’ll show you how you can turn your bar cart into a ‘hot chocolate & dessert bar station’. Who doesn’t love a hot cup of cocoa, right?! And for the adult version, make a spiked version. I’ll share later in the post, what I used to spike my hot chocolate.
For some holiday fun, you can coordinate this yummy holiday party idea by inviting your girlfriends over to wrap presents, or set a table and have a gingerbread making contest! Don’t forget to turn on your Christmas songs playlist and have your tree twinkling in the background.
What I love about this DIY is – it’s so easy, it’s self-serve (which saves a heck of alot of time on your part) and it’s inexpensive! All the items you see are all store-bought. Between the holidays and the cold weather, this is the time of the year where all the grocery stores and home stores have so many festive gourmet confections and speciality food options from candy cane marshmallows, chocolate dipping spoons, and peppermint everything!
Let’s start with the hot chocolate, shall we? While it may be easier to have individual hot chocolate packets available, I like to step it up notch and offer a decadent tasting hot chocolate. My newest favorite is Sarabeth’s Hot Chocolate Parisienne that I picked up at HomeGoods (found it online, here). It has semi-sweet Belgian chocolate morsels inside the dutch cocoa, and pure white cane sugar. All I have to do is add milk and boil! I love the brand’s preserves, so I knew this had to be good too!
So how did I spike this hot chocolate, you may ask? Well, I used my favorite creamy liqueur…RumChata! I simplied followed the directions on the back of the hot cocoa tin can, poured the hot cocoa in my mug, added 1 ounce of RumChata and stirred. Your guests will have the option of pouring their desired amount into their mug of hot chocolate.
These festive wooden ‘holiday cheer’ stirs from Laura Hooper are perfect for guests to use when stirring their spiked hot cocoa. Or an alternative, are these chocolate spoons.
These creme filled rolled Pepperidge Farm Piroutte wafers are perfect on its own or to use as a garnish for your mug of hot chocolate.
I scored these jumbo candy candy dipped marshmallows at Walmart. To satisfy your guests preference, you can display both large flavored marshmallows and plain mini marshmallows. Check out these green and white puffy poles marshmallow twists and these flavored Irish Cream marshmallows. Target also has a variety of holiday marshmallows like these dark chocolate peppermint marshmallow pops, these festive snowflake marshmallow hot chocolate toppers and these assorted hot chocolate toppers in peppermint, salted caramel, or chocolate chip.
Since sprinkles are just for garnishing the top of your hot chocolate, you don’t need a lot of it. So I decided to use my mini salt and pepper shakers that I had extra pair of. I adhered my gold foil alphabet letters to identify the contents inside…’p’ for peppermint and ‘c’ for cinnamon. The chocolate shavings were a bit thicker in texture, so I housed that in a small glass votive candle holder – alongside an appetizer-sized spoon.
I purchased this pretty calligraphy ‘Hot Chocolate bar’ stand, back in January from PS Weddings and Events. This Etsy store owner offers many color options. I went with the rose gold color option that mimics the hue of hot chocolate. I love that I can reuse this sign many times!
How to use your bar cart to create a DIY Hot Chocolate and Dessert Bar Station:
- Create, purchase or download a Hot Chocolate bar sign. There are so many free downloadable hot chocolate bar printable options on Pinterest. Not only is having a sign fun and festive, a sign will also allow your guests to easily identify your hot chocolate station.
- Use a carafe to hold your hot cocoa. Have your hot chocolate already prepared, hot and ready for your guests to self-serve.
- Set of Mugs. I used my vintage milk glass mugs but you can use any type of mugs you have.
- Store your sprinkle garnishes in a shaker. No need to buy special shakers – if you have an extra pair of salt and pepper shakers, use those to house your ground cinnamon, nutmeg, chocolate shavings, and/or peppermint dust sprinkles.
- Store your liqueur in a glass carafe or decanter. Optional if offering spiked hot chocolate. This is not entirely necessary but since I like to style items in a cohesive look (wink, wink) so I prefer to pour some of the liquor out of its original bottle. You can use adhesive alphabet letters or print labels.
- Use platters, cake stands and/or footed bowls. When using a combination of platters, cake stands or footed bowls, you are giving dimension and height to your display.
- Use your glassware. House your dessert treats in individual glasses. Whether it’s champagne or martini glassware – anything goes!
- Festive Beverage Napkins. I collect all kinds of seasonal, holiday, birthday, and cheeky bev naps so luckily I had the perfect pink color to coordinate with colors in the Christmas tree.
- Appetizer plates (not to be confused with dessert plates). Perfect size for personal tasting dishes.
- Pair your decadent and rich hot chocolate with delicious confections. I displayed a variety of six dessert treats that included cookies, chocolates, madeleines, and macaroons.
- Some garnishing and/or toppings suggestions would be ground cinnamon, crushed or crushed or dusted peppermints, chocolate shavings, whipped cream, marshmallows, and caramel.
- Since our bar cart is a two-tier, I prefered to keep all the dessert treats on the top tier since guests are more likely to revisit the hot chocolate station to nibble on a few more treats.
- I used the bottom tier to hold the hot chocolate, liqueur, mugs, stirs, and additional marshmallows.
- Keep it festive and style your bar cart with holiday decor. A few items I used are a couple of tree ornaments, some fresh greenery, and twinkly LED fairy lights.
I hope you are inspired to create your very own DIY hot chocolate and dessert bar party and may you enjoy this season, creating new memories.
-Photos + Styling by Rose Angel Lopez
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