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Take your coffee bar to the next level by creating a seasonal hot cocoa bar. These tips will help you recreate a Pinterest-worthy set up with minimal effort.


Winter is the perfect time to throw a hot cocoa bar party. When the weather outside is frightful, a warm cup of hot chocolate is truly delightful. Add some of your favorite friends to the mix and it’s perfection. Today, we are showing you some easy tips to make your hot cocoa bar one to remember. These tips are also quick to put together and will help you stay on the budget, too.

hot cocoa bar

hot cocoa bar

Tip #1: DIY Some Hot Cocoa Art

Throwing parties can be a lot of fun, but they can also be expensive. When you DIY some of the decor you can save a ton of money. It also makes it easy to personalize the decor to fit your style. Learn how to make this DIY Hot Cocoa sign below. It adds the perfect touch to the party table.

hot cocoa bar sign


  • 1×12 cut to 9 inches
  • (2) 12 inch trim pieces cut from a 1×2 with 45° angles on each end
  • (2) 10 1/2 inch trim pieces cut from a 1×2 with 45° angles on each end
  • white paint
  • black paint
  • sand paper
  • 1 1/2 inch nails
  • hammer
  • vinyl lettering
  • hand saw

Step 1

First, cut your wood out. Then, paint and distress the wood pieces before assembling.

DIY sign tutorial

Step 2

Next, nail your trim pieces onto the board using a hammer & nails.

how to make a sign

make your own signs

Step 3

Apply the vinyl lettering. Vinyl lettering is just like a big sticker. You can cut your own if you own an electronic cutting machine, or you can order vinyl lettering online. It’s so easy to apply and turns out perfectly almost every single time. Check out this DIY Let It Snow sign for an example of another project using vinyl lettering.

how to apply vinyl lettering

All done! This DIY Hot Cocoa sign would look super cute on your kitchen counter, too.

winter decor

Tip #2: Incorporate Some Mason Jars

Use mason jars.

Mason jars are so inexpensive and super trendy at the same time. Use them to hold your hot chocolate bar toppings in. These are the pint size wide mouth mason jars, and they work perfectly for this.

FYI: This cute polka dotted tray was made the exact same way as the hot cocoa sign.

mason jar in party decor

Mason jars look charming filled with all the fun hot cocoa toppings.

hot cocoa bar toppings

toppings for hot chocolate

Another advantage for using mason jars is that after the party, you can put the lids back on. Your toppings will stay nice and fresh until your next party.

using mason jars at parties

Tip #3: Incorporate Hot Cocoa Bar Toppings

toppings ideas for a hot chocolate bar

  • Marshmallows ~  mini marshmallows, Gingerbread marshmallows, peppermint marshmallows, Neapolitan marshmallows, pumpkin marshmallows
  • Toppings ~ peppermint Andes chips, Caramel Bits, sprinkles, coconut flakes, whipped cream, chocolate syrup, caramel sauce, crushed peppermints, white chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, chocolate chips, Hershey Kisses, Rolos, chopped up candy bars (any kind), mixed nuts, peppermint M&Ms, Mini Reese’s Cups, York Peppermint Patties
  • Stirrers ~ Peppermint sticks or candy canes, cinnamon sticks, Pirouettes, rock candy stick, chocolate covered spoons
  • Creamers ~ vanilla, coconut cream, pumpkin spice, hazelnut, peppermint

Tip #4: Use What You Have

There’s no need to go out and buy a lot of expensive party decor. We have a cedar tree on our property that didn’t mind donating a few branches to our party. We used a few clippings to add a rustic, wintry look. Many times you can find free clippings at tree farms and at supermarkets that are selling Christmas trees.

hot cocoa bar ideas

Borrow decor from around your house. We used some red and white striped candles from our mantle tucked in among the greenery, and it came together perfectly. The snowflakes in the background also came from our home as well.

hot cocoa mugs

Tip #5: Keep Your Water or Milk Warm

You don’t want lukewarm hot cocoa. There are several ways to keep your hot cocoa hot. If you are having a large crowd, crock pots are the best thing to use. We use a large one that holds over a gallon of milk.

Pour your milk inside and leave on warm for several hours. If you are in a hurry, turn your crock pot on high for about an hour and then lower to warm right before your guest arrive.

If you have a smaller crowd coming, this insulated thermos works well. Warm your milk on the stove and then carefully pour inside. I almost always use whole milk for our cocoa parties. It’s also nice to offer warm water for those guest that can’t drink milk.

how to keep hot cocoa warm

Tip #6: Buy Things Out of Season

We host hot cocoa bars several times over the winter. My teen loves having her friends over for hot chocolate, and we always have a family or two over several times during the holidays (especially when there’s a cold snap). This year we even hosted a hot cocoa bar for our entire Cub Scout pack and their families. So last year, as all of the winter and holiday merchandise went on clearance, I snagged some amazing deals. I found these adorable snowmen mugs for 80% off.

snowman mugs

I grabbed this snowman canister as well. He is perfect for holding the hot cocoa in. Adding the vinyl lettering along the front to say “hot cocoa” was the perfect touch.

snowman canister

The biggest reason to host a hot cocoa bar is to have time to spend with family and friends while it’s cold outside. After you have everything set up, try to relax, sip your hot cocoa, and enjoy being with those you love.

snowman soup

Let us know some of your favorite hot cocoa toppings in the comments below!

hot cocoa bar tips

About the Author

Ginger Bowie

Ginger Bowie is the blogger behind Ginger Snap Crafts. Ginger loves sharing her crafty ideas, latest DIY projects, yummy recipes, organization tips, kids crafts and more with her readers. Ginger is the wife to one amazing guy & mom to 5 wild & crazy kiddos that range in age from 6 to 19. Her family loves calling Northwest Arkansas home. She has a crazy & busy life, and she wouldn’t change a thing. Ginger Snap Crafts is a place that she hopes inspires others to create along with her! If she can do it, she knows you can, too!

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