Saddle up to the bar, kiddies…the COCOA BAR, that is! What is better on a cold day than a cup of hot chocolate? Nothing! So let’s go beyond just having a cup of cocoa and go for a whole experience. Cocoa bars are a designated space for hot chocolate. It is typically loaded with all the fixings needed to take your cocoa to the next level. Cocoa bars are great for parties or for the mainstay in your house during these colder months. Cocoa bars are easy to set up and a cinch to maintain.

Let’s break down the basics. First, the bar. Do you have a spot on your counter to set something up? It can be a little corner in your kitchen. Or maybe a little cart would work best. Here are 75 DIY Christmas Hot Cocoa Bar Ideas for visual inspo.

Now we will explore each aspect of creating a great cocoa bar. Please note that you obviously don’t need everything on these lists, and there are some things that could be added to this list. Use this as a guide. 

FYI you don’t even need to stay in the kitchen for your Cocoa Bar. You could do your dining room, living room, or bonus room. Just find a location (and/or furniture) to create your station.

Location

  • Counter
  • Bar Cart
  • Craft Cart
  • Hutch
  • Wall Shelves
  • Sofa Table
  • Side Table
  • Chest of Drawers
  • Bookcase
  • Desk
  • Bakers Rack

Let’s move to the accessories. These are things you probably already have around your house. However, if you want to grab some extra items, vintage pieces are a nice choice. Plus, some fantastic local places to get some of these extra touches for your cocoa bar are Kinder HomeMade Here, and Crafty Wonderland. Below are some of the items you may need. 

Accessories

  • Trays
  • Baskets 
  • Tiered Baskets
  • Charcuterie Board
  • Wall mug hanger
  • Dishes
  • Stirrers
  • Jars
  • Spoons
  • Spoon rests
  • Mugs (Holiday mugs are awesome. Mugs to match your décor? Or some handmade artisan mugs? Here are a couple of local artists who make amazing mugs. Here are links for Tamara Bryan Pottery and Mary Carroll Ceramics).
  • Slow Cooker (When you have parties or know you will need to keep a lot of cocoa warm for a long time, then you want to get a slow cooker. Here are several options). 

Once you get the “hardware” figured out. Let’s decorate! One place that has all sorts of items to party with is Cheers to You, an incredible little party store. 

Decorations

  • Signs (Want to print your own cocoa bar printables? Go here. Or here are a lot of cocoa bar signs made in Oregon).
  • Banners
  • Pendants
  • Decorative Napkins
  • Straws
  • Ornaments or Other Décor (make it your own)

Now for your supplies. We want to make sure the staples are shelf-stable. These are the things that you will have on hand all the time. This is the heart of your station. 

Supplies

  • Cocoa Mix (Make your own or buy your favorites or mix it up! Here is a great recipe).
  • Cocoa Bombs
  • Sprinkles (Want some local options? Check these sprinkles out. The Natural Sprinkles Co. products are made with all-natural ingredients).
  • Candy Canes
  • Vanilla powder 
  • Chocolate chips
  • Crushed peppermints
  • Cookies (Check out PDX Cookie Co for some of these local cookies)!
  • Marshmallows (Get a variety of them)!

What about those fresh ingredients? When you are hosting or using the station, that is when you can add fresh ingredients.  

Fresh Supplies

  • Milk (Regular or dairy-free alternatives or a mix of both, depending on your needs).
  • Whipped Cream
  • Frozen Whipped Cream (Oh, these are FUN! Check out the recipe here. You can make all sorts of shapes).

Want to kick up the cocoa bar up a notch for the over-21 crowds?  

Alcohol

  • Baileys Irish Cream
  • Kahlua (Or try these local coffee liquors here. These are some of the great craft coffee liquors from Distillery Row).
  • Amaretto
  • Schnapps
  • Hazelnut Liqueur
  • Bourbon
  • Grand Marnier
  • Brandy
  • Peppermint Vodka
  • Whipped Cream Vodka

We hope this sets you up for your next winter party. Or go ahead and set it up all cold season long! It is a great addition to your holiday home décor. You can totally make it your own. You can make it as simple or as fancy as you like. Add some tea, join forces with your coffee bar, it is up to you how you make this special space. What about you? Do you have a cocoa bar? Is it just for parties, or is every day a party? We are voting every day as a party this time of the year.