I grew up in a very hot cocoa driven family. Living in Minnesota, we were constantly looking for ways to stay cozy and warm in the winter and there was nothing like coming in from a cold day to some fresh hot cocoa. I may not live in Minnesota anymore (though this bar was done there), but I still love the warmth of a yummy cup of cocoa and bonus: I've become savvy to all the different wonderful things that could be added to it to make it a more decadent (and boozy!) treat. Emphasis on the word "treat", since my health goals are keeping me from making this a regular thing, but I figure this would be such a fun treat for Bachelor Night with the girls or even a special Valentine's date night at home with your love. Here are my tips for the perfect hot cocoa bar...
1. The cocoa itself doesn't need to be fancy. I'm all for the mixes. My favorite is the Lake Champlain brand, which comes in a variety of mixes. I just use the regular. Use whatever milk you prefer, and make it on the stove.
2. Booze! Hot cocoa is kind of a game changer when you turn it into a cocktail. My favorite to mix in is Amaretto, but it's also great with Creme de Menthe or bourbon, so having a few options for people to choose from is fun. I love these decanters, which are actually cocktail mixing glasses. I found them at Target for $9.99. Affordable, and not too big so you can keep your display manageable for an intimate group.
3. Homemade whipped cream makes all the difference and it's so easy to make! Here's how to make it.
4. Toppings. This is where you really get to have fun with it and make it your own, but my list included: - Marshmallows - Snickers - Peanut butter cups (my fave!) - White chocolate chips - Fresh mint leaves - Cinnamon sticks - Cinnamon powder - Chocolate shavings - Chocolate powder - Nutmeg
And there you have it! This is pretty much the easiest yet most fun dessert/cocktail combo bar I've ever made, and I highly recommend it during this hibernation season!