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Gourmet Hot Chocolate Bar

Elevate your holiday party with a warm beverage bar for parents and kids

Article by Kristy Belley

Photography by Janie Jones @uncommonjane

Originally published in Gilbert City Lifestyle

Nothing leaves your guest with a more satisfying holiday experience than a warm glass of hot chocolate. A gourmet hot beverage station will set the perfect mood for winding down the evening.  

Slow Cooker Hot Chocolate


  •  ¼ cup cocoa powder
  •  ½ cup hot water
  •  20 ounces chopped semi-sweet chocolate
  •  10 cups whole milk (or 2% - see notes)
  •  2 ½ cups heavy cream
  •  1 (12 ounces) can evaporated milk (not fat-free)
  •  ½ cup sugar (optional)
  •  ¼ teaspoon salt

Start by whisking together a little cocoa powder and hot water in a bowl. When the cocoa mixes in, add it to a slow cooker along with chopped chocolate, milk, heavy cream, a can of evaporated milk, sugar, and a hint of salt. That’s it! Let it go low and slow for 6 hours, or on the high setting for 4 hours.  You want to whisk the hot chocolate occasionally to make sure the chocolate isn’t stuck to the bottom. 

Insider Tip - Use a broken bar for your chocolate as chocolate chips seem to give an inconsistent result

You can give it that southwest flare by making Mexican Hot Chocolate using the same slow cooker method

Mexican hot chocolate is slightly different from the traditional recipe. It’s spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, and a hint of chili powder. Don’t worry, the chili powder is no way strong enough to be spicy. The spices are meant to be subtle, but add so much flavor to the chocolate.

Mexican Hot Chocolate


  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup hot water
  • 4 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate
  • 1/2 can (7 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 stick cinnamon (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (optional)
  • 4 cups (1 quart) whole milk (2% or skim is also fine)

Adult Hot Chocolate

Make it a boozy hot chocolate by offering options of whiskey, Bailey’s or Peppermint Schnapps.

Setting up the bar

These days, you can buy adorable paper coffee cups like Starbucks right on Amazon! They come complete with sleeves and lids. Of course, you can also use nice mugs if you’re hosting a party for just a few people

For the hot chocolate bar toppings, use mason jars in different sizes. Use a variety of sizes to really add some height and interest to the whole thing. Use a few tall ones for jumbo marshmallows, a few short ones for toppings like toffee bits, and mini ones for coarse sea salt.

Add a little holiday cheer by tying red twine or holiday ribbons to the jars. Cute labels can be easily printed off for an added touch

What toppings to add to your customizable hot chocolate bar:

  • Marshmallows or mini marshmallows!
  • Toffee bits
  • coarse sea salt
  • mini chocolate chips
  • crushed peppermints or candy canes or soft peppermint sticks
  • cinnamon sticks
  • whoppers
  • milk chocolate truffles
  • Pirouette cookies
  • White chocolate shavings
  • whipped cream
  • dark chocolate syrup
  • caramel sauce
  • chocolate or peppermint coated spoons

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