Whether you and your house guests have spent the afternoon on the slopes or you've decided to take an after-dinner walk through the cold neighborhood to take in the warmth of houses strung with Christmas lights, a cocoa bar will be on the most appreciated amenities in your abode. Cocoa bars are fun, yummy, and oh so belly warming.Setting up a cocoa bar1. Hot water
Since a simple kettle on the stovetop won't work for a house full of cold, thirsty guests, plan a head and fill a large carafe or two with hot water. Depending on the number of people you'll be serving, you might be able to get away with a large electric kettle, such as Krups 54-ounce Water Kettle
($50).2. Assortment of cocoa mixes
Make your own or stock up on an assortment of different kinds of cocoa mixes. Try our Basic Dark Chocolate Cocoa Mix
or Vanilla Bean Hot Chocolate Mix
. Put each type of mix in bowls or, for a festive look, mason jars decorated with ribbon. Set spoons in each so guests can make the strength of their cocoa to their liking.3. Mugs
If you have guests coming over just for the evening, request that they each bring their favorite mug. (You could even do a mug gift exchange to really make it fun.) If you have house guests that are staying over the holidays, simply set up a variety of mugs for their choosing. For a bit more elegance, buy a tower or two of World Market Stacking Mugs
($15).4. Tasty add-ins
Give your guests a tasty array of additional items to add to or garnish their warm chocolaty drink. Candy canes
make great stir sticks. Set out different bottles of flavored syrups. Offer shakers of cinnamon and vanilla powder. Fill bowls with vegan marshmallows, shaved dark chocolate, orange zest and candy sprinkles. Give them a non-dairy whipped topping, like this Cinnamon Whipped Cream
.5. Baked goodies
Mugs of hot cocoa are best enjoyed with sweet baked goodies, including gingerbread cookies, chocolate cupcakes, and decadent cakes.
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