Hot Cocoa and Apple Cider Bar

EASY Neighborhood Hot Cocoa Bar

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Hot Cocoa and Apple Cider BarEASY Neighborhood Hot Cocoa Bar

You too can set up an easy Hot Cocoa bar — really you can! I will show you how.  In fact, you can simply have hot water and the dry mixes and that would be really fun too. 

Wondering when to have it?  It’s always a good time!  

Stan and I have done 30 Open House style Dinners I believe, but we decided to do a Hot Cocoa Bar this time, and it turned out fabulous, or I should say scrumptious.

So who do you invite?  

Well, you could invite your family, or your friends, or what about your neighbors?

We decided to put the word out there, but to make sure that every single house in our neighborhood – all 171 was invited.

Did people come?  YEP!

How did we do it?  We asked for help of course and you should too!  I’ll tell you more about that.

I’ve also included tips and recipes, just in case you might want them:) Click on any blue for easy linking

Let’s get this delicious party started:

To begin: we got hold of some really inexpensive Chinese take-out containers like these HERE

Neighborhood Hot Cocoa bar

Neighborhood Hot Cocoa bar

Then we filled them with my yummy White Chocolate Covered Corn Pops.  You can find the recipe HERE

Neighborhood Hot Cocoa Bar

Neighborhood Hot Cocoa Bar

We had some help as I mentioned, because angels always come to our rescue.  Natalie, who has a FB page HERE  made the adorable tags.  She  makes all sorts of cards and tags that are handcrafted, unique, each one extraordinary and always special gifts.  Make sure to check out her page!



Our neighbors, more angels; Bret & Teresa Cutler and their sons, helped us deliver almost all of them after Stan and I put them together.

Neighborhood Hot Cocoa Bar

Neighborhood Hot Cocoa Bar

For the BIG event I made my Crock Pot Creamy Hot Chocolate.  It’s so easy and you can find it HERE  I did make a change of part semi-sweet chocolate chips and part milk chocolate chips so it was not too sweet or too dark of a flavor for the add-ins/mix-in’s.  (See the notes at the bottom.)

This thermos kept the drinks perfectly warm and it didn’t pick up the taste of either the hot chocolate OR the cider either – at least not in my situation. 

Neighborhood Hot Cocoa Bar

eighborhood Hot Cocoa Bar

And I also made my Caramel Apple Cider, the recipe is HERE

Neighborhood Hot Cocoa Bar

Neighborhood Hot Cocoa Bar

I didn’t want to exclude anyone, so I had hot water in the 2 thermos’s and Steven’s Milk Hot Chocolate which is gluten-free.

Neighborhood Hot Cocoa Bar

Neighborhood Hot Cocoa Bar

Now for the FUN part!  I had add-in’s or mix-in’s you may call them.   (You can click on the links for easy ordering) 

You simply can’t have a Hot Cocoa Bar without marshmallows!

Neighborhood Hot Cocoa Bar

Neighborhood Hot Cocoa Bar

For the paper products we found these awesome cups.  You can get some like it, WITH the little stirrers HERE

Don’t forget the Napkins!


Neighborhood Hot Cocoa Bar

Neighborhood Hot Cocoa Bar

And of course you MUST have Spray Whipped Cream in the can for the Caramel Apple Cider AND the Hot Cocoa!

Neighborhood Hot Cocoa Bar

Neighborhood Hot Cocoa Bar

The drinks kept extremely well in the Igloo Jugs, which you can find HERE

Oh, and I mentioned, I use my fabulous thermos all the time to keep water and drinks hot, like I did for the party, or when we go out to events and activities – you will find one HERE

Now, to save you frustration and calculations, for a party of 75-85 people, and some people had both kinds of drinks; while others had many ‘tries’ of hot cocoa flavors too:)

  • I used only one bottle of all the syrups, the larger one of the chocolate
  • 3 bags of miniature marshmallows
  • 4 cans of spray whipped cream
  • 1/4 can of Stevens hot chocolate mix
  • 1 – 1/4 can bag of heath toffee bits
  • about 1 1/2 cups total of crushed candy canes
  • 1/4 cup approximately of Mexican vanilla
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of orange and almond extract



  • Put towels on the floor to absorb any drips from the Igloo jug
  • Garbage cans around to collect the empty cups, spoons and napkins.  We line 5 gallon buckets and have around the rooms.
  • Have a bowl of ice for parents to put in their kids cups if the drink liquid is too hot.


I will give you the formula that I used for making large batches of the Creamy Crock Pot Hot Chocolate and the Caramel Apple Cider.  I made it the day before, kept it cold and then warmed it slowly over the stove and poured it into the Igloo jugs.  The jugs kept the drinks much hotter than I expected, so warm it just a little hotter than you would drink it if it will be used within 4-5 hours.

This is what I needed with a little left over for 75-85 people, kids and adults included:



4 quarts or 2 half gallons half and half

8 cans sweetened condensed milk

3 gallons of whole milk

1/4 cup vanilla (I like the Mexican vanilla)

3 packages  semisweet chocolate chips

5 packages of milk chocolate chips

Full recipe instructions are HERE



3 recipes of cinnamon syrup*

9 quarts apple juice ( not apple cider)

6 envelopes dry spiced cider drink mix

1  1/2 cups caramel sundae topping (use one 14 oz. bottle and that’s perfect)

Follow recipe instructions HERE


I hope you get a chance to have family, friends and even YOUR neighbors over for a hot cocoa bar and maybe you’ll want the caramel cider too. 

Here are all my hot drinks so far that I have created that are family friendly and delicious. Simply click on the picture and it will take you there!

9 Fabulous Family Friendly Hot Drinks

 9 Fabulous Family Friendly Hot Drinks










Carrie Groneman’s recipes

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2017

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