Create the Ultimate Hot Chocolate Station

Dani Caruso
By Dani Caruso

Get toasty with a serving (or like, five) from the DIY hot chocolate bar. Drinking hot cocoa has an element of wintery childhood nostalgia and hot chocolate bars are now a highly popular party idea. A great hot chocolate station includes 4 main components: a dedicated and accessible serving spot, flavor variety, a plethora of toppings to choose from, and sweet and savory complementary snacks. Have fun planning out your dessert drink bar and get creative when decorating. Make sure to label everything on the table so that guests can find their favorite flavors, and try new ones.

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The Surface

Organize your station on a buffet that can accommodate all the items—you don’t want to be left with neglected toppings because guests didn’t know they were available. Set up on a sideboard, a bar cart, a card table dressed with a festive tablecloth, or DIY a console table.

Broadridge Bar Cart (Wayfair, $156.99)

Have fun with decorating! Details like banners and backdrops will be sure to impress thirsty guests. You can find plenty of dessert bar inspiration and printables online in addition to hot chocolate-themed party supplies that are ready for display.

Hot Chocolate Bar Kit (Amazon, $9.99)

Consider what you’d like everyone to drink from. Mix and match coffee mugs for a homey vibe or order enough for each guest and let them keep their mug as a party favor. Keep the table organized with a mug rack that allows friends and family to serve themselves. Offer to-go cups so that the hot cocoa can be enjoyed on the ride home after the party’s over.

Mug Rack (Target, $19.99)


The Drink

In addition to a classic chocolatey option, provide a range of flavors to choose from. Everything from dark chocolate to peppermint to salted caramel will ensure that everybody’s tastebuds are satisfied; an assortment of flavor syrups will make this a breeze and allows you to make a drink to your liking. If this is an adult-only event, consider offering liqueur pairings as well.

Holiday Hot Chocolate Tin Collection (Harry & David, $19.99)

Stir up drinks with dessert spoons. Chocolate-coated spoons can be dipped into hot milk for a decadent hot chocolate, or you could make a traditional drink and use candy cane spoons for flavorful stirring. This baking pan allows you to bake edible spoons with cookie dough.

Holiday Hot Chocolate Sticks (Terrain, $28)


The Toppings

Top off beverages with an array of sweet garnishes. We suggest: whipped cream, sprinkles, mini flavored marshmallows, a dollop of ice cream, peppermint “north poles”, cinnamon sticks, crushed candy cane, and marshmallow snowmen that “melt” into your cup.

Mini Gingerbread House Mug Topper (Etsy, $33 for 6)


The Pairings

Give ’em something to nibble on. All of the flavor diversity in the drinks creates an opportunity for plenty of corresponding snacks. Here are some options for the table:

  • cookies (peanut butter, oatmeal, sugar)
  • macarons
  • biscuits
  • donuts
  • truffles
  • cakes

Peppermint Bark (Amazon, $10)



Dani Caruso
By Dani Caruso
Dani is House One’s assistant editor. As a Norwalk, CT native, Dani graduated from UConn with a BA in Digital Media and Design. This millennial longs for the days of All That, Tamagotchis, and Dunkaroos. When she’s not working, she’s hanging outdoors, playing with her dogs, or watching makeup tutorials on YouTube.

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