The crisp air. The glittering lights in the trees. The excuse to bundle up in cute boots and cozy coats.
It really is a magical time of year, although I admit that the cold does get to me. As much as I love to spend a day out and about in the city shopping and ice skating with friends, it usually isn't long before I find myself craving a crackling fire and a mug of something warm and cozy.
(And I really do mean simple!) Fancy signs and matchy-matchy labels are super cute for weddings or bridal showers, but I prefer something a little more casual that everyone can do.
No need to spend days planning. Just follow the easy tips below, and you and your friends will be toasting in no time!
Big ones. Small ones. Put out enough for everyone, plus a few extra in case people want seconds (or thirds!).
You can even turn it into a contest later and have people vote on the most creative hot chocolate concoction!
Since the point of the bar is for guests to personalize the flavors, I suggest keeping it very simple with basic flavors that guests can doctor up to their liking.
You can also use a slow cooker or a coffee dispenser to keep everything nice and warm throughout the party.
Spike it Up
Smirnoff's confections line of flavored vodkas.
My favorite is Smirnoff Whipped Cream Flavored Vodka, which tastes like creamy vanilla whipped cream and is amazing with both dark and white hot chocolate.
As a guideline, guests should start by adding 1 to 1 ½ ounces of vodka per mug—I suggest leaving out a couple little measuring cups for easy reference—then follow with their favorite hot chocolate.
Smirnoff Fluffed Marshmallow Flavored Vodka (which tastes like toasted marshmallows!), Smirnoff Kissed Caramel Flavored Vodka, and Smirnoff Vanilla Vodka.
You can also have fun with some fruit flavors—Smirnoff Raspberry vodka is incredible with dark chocolate, and the Smirnoff Pear vodka went really well with the white chocolate.
Whipped Vanilla White Hot Chocolate with Cocoa Nibs or my Fluffernutter Hot Chocolate with Salted Peanuts.
What an incredible way to warm up after a chilly day out on the town!
Think things like chocolate chips, mini (or big!) marshmallows, crumbled cookies, maraschino cherries, roasted peanuts, coconut, and even fresh berries or diced fruit.
(Oooh...how good would banana be?!).
A good flaky sea salt would be a nice touch.
Arrange each of the toppings in small bowls or glasses. Use vessels of different shapes and sizes to add height and variety to the table.
As you've been out all day, it's best to keep the activities simple. Let your friends have fun creating different hot chocolate combinations, and then settle down on the couch or some cozy chairs to watch a movie or chat.
Take photos of the different creations and share them on Instagram or Facebook.
DIY Peppermint Hot Chocolate Mix, but feel free to play around and make it your own by adding different flavors or candies.
Or check out my eCookbook: The Puerto Rican Christmas Table with 40+ recipes and full-color photos.
Click here to learn more!
Note: This post is sponsored by Smirnoff. Thank you for supporting great companies like Smirnoff that make it possible for me to keep creating fun new content for you to enjoy. All photos, opinions, and recipes are (of course!) my own. As always, please remember to drink responsibly!