BHG Delish Dish

Stirring Up Ideas In The Kitchen

hot cocoa

Simple and easy setup for a holiday coffee and hot cocoa bar.

The holidays are most definitely one of my favorite times of the year, and we frequently host gatherings in our home, both formal and informal. Whether you’re going upscale or downscale, a coffee and hot cocoa beverage station is a fun and unique way to treat your guests to a little something special!

My girls helped me create this coffee and hot cocoa bar for a recent cookie decorating party we hosted, and I’m pretty sure it stole the show. Sure the cookies were all amazing, but kids and adults alike were delighted to create their own coffee and hot cocoa concoctions.

A Keurig makes it easy for everyone to have their own hot and fresh beverage to customize

The essentials for creating a holiday beverage station, such as this, are a Keurig brewer and a variety of K-Cup pods. We went with the Starbucks Holiday Blend and Starbucks Classic Hot Cocoa. Using a personal brewer makes it easy to switch between beverages, and everyone gets their own hot and fresh cup.

Beyond that, it’s all in the details. Let me walk you through a few of the highlights that we included in our spread…

Organizing K-Cups on a tiered tray makes it simple to grab the variety your guest wants to use

Organizing the K-Cup pods on a rotating tiered tray makes it simple for guests to grab the variety they’re looking for. And just how cute are those candy cane spoons? I found them at Walmart, and yes, you can actually eat them! As you can imagine, they were a BIG hit with the kids in attendance. Regular candy canes would be a great alternative, too.

Organizing your toppers in various glass jars makes for a pretty presentation

Organizing your beverage toppers in various glass jars makes for such a pretty presentation. Plus it makes it look like you really went out of your way, when it reality, it only takes a few minutes to transfer them over. We offered mini chocolate chips, crushed peppermints, mini marshmallows, and a variety of spices, along with half and half, whipped cream and caramel and white chocolate syrups.

Speaking of the spices — aren’t these little spice shakers just adorable? A set of 8 was just $2.24, again at Walmart. Originally I was just going to label them with my label maker, but someone (likely two little girls who shall not be named) used the last of the ribbon, so I was left searching for an alternative. Washi tape and a fine point Sharpie to the rescue! And I actually think I prefer this look.

One other thing to keep in mind when setting up a beverage station is to try using varying heights. Cake pedestals work great for this, and it not only looks more pleasing, but it also makes it easier to reach various items. I added a pedestal with a copper “garbage bowl” right next to the Keurig brewer for guests to toss their used K-Cup pods in, and also placed the creams and syrups on their own pedestal.

A DIY framed chalkboard is the perfect way to highlight a beverage station

I challenged myself to not purchase any new decorations for our coffee and hot cocoa bar — instead I “shopped my house” to find different items to incorporate. I made this framed chalkboard menu (out of a Better Homes and Gardens frame) for our Thanksgiving dinner and just repurposed it for our little buffet. I have a feeling I’m going to be reusing it a lot over the next month or so.

Kid and adults alike will love customizing their drinks with various toppings

My kids all adored our holiday beverage station so much that they begged me to leave it out all season long. Now, I don’t know about that… but it will definitely be making an encore appearance at several more gatherings over the next few weeks!

For more information on Keurig brewers, visit their website here.

Check out more of Tara’s holiday ideas at Unsophisticook.


Happy Valentine’s Day! It’s been chilly out here in the woods so tonight I am making this Sipping Chocolate for my sweetheart. Making hot cocoa from scratch is really simple- you basically just melt bits of chocolate and a dab of honey in milk over medium heat and stir until they are all melted together and smooth. I topped mine with whip cream, chocolate shavings and a pinch of cayenne pepper (for a hot kick!). My favorite technique for making curly chocolate shavings is to use a potato peeler. Save a couple squares out of the chocolate bar for this and just swipe the peeler along the edge of the bar to create the shaving. (*tip: milk chocolate has more wax in it than dark chocolate which makes the shavings curl better and less likely to break). I have found it’s easiest to create the shavings right over the whipped cream since picking them up often causes them to break. Enjoy!


Sipping Chocolate for 2

(Recipe is adapted from this Double Hot Chocolate recipe. I used honey instead of corn syrup and just one type of chocolate )


2c milk

1 chocolate bar (milk or dark, approx 1.5 oz., save a couple squares for shaving)

1t honey

topping: whipped cream, chocolate shavings and a pinch of cayenne pepper


1. In a 2-quart heavy saucepan combine milk, chocolate, and honey. Cook and stir over medium heat until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.

2. Serve in warmed latte mugs or bowls. If desired, top with sweetened whipped cream and sprinkle with grated bittersweet chocolate and a pinch of cayenne pepper.


The Forest Feast is a blog by Erin Gleeson full of simple, colorful vegetable based recipes with photos and watercolor illustration. After working for many years as a food photographer in NYC, Erin moved to a cabin in the woods where she is currently working on The Forest Feast Cookbook. Follow Erin on Twitter and  Instagram, @theforestfeast.

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