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Cozy Cocktails: How to Host a Coffee and Cocoa Bar

Thu, Oct 12, 23  |  entertaining

When temperatures fall and there’s a crisp chill in the air, it’s the perfect time to host a coffee and hot chocolate bar! Here’s our party planning guide to help you create a cozy cocktail party. Remember, celebrate responsibly…and warmly. 

Coffee Talk

Black coffee is ideal for creating a coffee bar. Start with a neutral base and allow guests to flavor with a variety of additions displayed on your bar. It’s also a good idea to put the coffee in a carafe for easy grabbing and pouring. A single serve coffee maker (like a Keurig) will only work if you’re entertaining two or three people. If you have several party goers, stick to a full-size coffee maker—otherwise, your party could look something like Black Friday.


You can go really simple with a pre-made mix, or make your hot cocoa from scratch. Here is a recipe for a classic, homemade cocoa. It’s a family batch recipe that serves four full mugs. It’s great for serving a gathering and can be easily doubled.

Homemade Cocoa

  • ½ cup sugar

  • ¼ cup cocoa

  • dash salt

  • ⅓ cup hot water

  • 2 cups whole milk

  • 2 cups half and half

  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Mix sugar, cocoa, and salt in a large saucepan, stir in water. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture boils; boil and stir for 2 minutes. Stir in dairy and heat, do not boil. Remove from heat, add vanilla.


Make it easy on yourself and your guests by setting up a self-serve station. This allows guests to try as many flavor combinations as they would like, and it gives you more time to mingle. 

What to include in your hot beverage bar:

  • Carafes of coffee & cocoa (keeps them nice and toasty all night long)

  • Water pitcher and cups – it’s important to stay hydrated! 

  • Festive mugs

  • Stirring spoons

  • Napkins

  • Half and half

  • Whipped cream

  • Marshmallows

  • Chocolate sprinkles or chips

  • Cinnamon or cinnamon sticks

  • Candy canes or peppermints 

  • Caramel and/or hot fudge syrup

Spirits picks recommended by our Celebration Specialists:

Fun with Fluff!

There are SO many choices when it comes to marshmallows. You can go mini or gigantic, flavored or traditional, homemade or store bought.

Perfect Partners


Gingersnaps and sugar are two of our favorites.


Snacks like popcorn and trail mixes generously sprinkled with salt are a great pairing for sweet beverages; the salt really brings out chocolate flavors.


Self explanatory – the perfect pairing with coffee!

Create A Theme

Nothing adds to a party like a theme! Incorporate the theme into the mugs you select, the flavors, the decorations and the invitations. The sky's the limit with different themes, but the little touches are sure to wow your guests. 


Include lots of snowy imagery in your décor. Perfect for the Holidays. 


Create a cozy birthday party or New Year’s Day gathering with a chocolate and coffee bar. 


Put a warm and wonderful spin on a baby shower or sip and see.

By Clark Trim

Tags: coffee hot cocoa