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5 steps to making the best boozy hot chocolate bar

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Let’s be honest, nothing beats a cup of hot cocoa. The sweet creamy chocolate, steaming hot milk and as many marshmallows as you can stuff in your mug. Epic. 

Now try adding whisky into your hot cocoa for an extra bit of warmth, spice and all things nice. 

Here’s how to make a boozy hot chocolate bar that’ll make you the host of the festive season.

1. Get the glassware

We’re not against using your collection of odd crockery from the cupboard – who doesn’t love a chipped motivational mug – but if we’re going big, we better go bold.

Deep round mugs with plenty of space for cream are a solid choice, or go fancy with clear latte glasses to show off every layer.

If matching mugs aren’t your thing, why not ask guests to BYO? Give them a chance to pick out their favourite one from home that truly showcases their wacky personality – and save you some washing up too.

2. Prep the hot cocoa

Ok, pause. Before you get the stove on, it’s important to check with your guests’ dietaries. You might want to grab some different varieties to satisfy the dairy-free crowd. Our personal favourites are almond milk that adds a nutty taste, or coconut milk for a sweet variation. 

Milks decided? Next up is the main ingredient. Milk chocolate is the typical go-to for pleasing a crowd. But feel free to add in a sprinkle of dark chocolate chips for a richer taste. Or create a white chocolate (non-alcoholic) option. Solid chocolate makes a more luxurious drink, but you can equally use your favourite powder for a simpler option.

The best way to make a big batch of hot chocolate is on a stove or using a slow cooker. Add your milk and cream or water (depending on your preference) and heat until almost boiling. Then add in the chocolate, giving it a good stir every now and then to make sure it’s all melty and glorious.

3. Pour in the booze

Now for the fun part. The best alcohol to mix with hot chocolate is a smooth, aged spirit that compliments its sweetness such as rum, brandy or whisky.

Being Europe’s no.1 maker of blended scotch whisky, we’ll stay true to what we know works best; a generous pour of Ballantine’s Finest. It’s got a hint of spice, soft honey notes and the sweet fresh finish of apple and vanilla. Perfection.

In terms of quantities, there really are no rules. Obviously you don’t want to overpower the hot chocolate, nor do you want to miss out on the whisky’s warming finish. Give our Whisky Hot Chocolate recipe a go to get the balance just right. Choose between DIY shots ready for guests to spike their hot chocolate on the table, or pour it straight into the pot before serving.

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Ballantine’s Hot Chocolate

This whisky hot chocolate is a sweet tooth’s dream…  throw on all your favourite toppings, there’s no such thing as too much!

Get Recipe

4. Pick your toppings

Whisky aside, the best bit about hot chocolate is the toppings right? A huge dollop of cream, millions of miniature marshmallows and a flake if you’re lucky… this is where you can really get creative and give guests something to get giddy over. 

Here’s some of our favourite toppings to add to a spiked hot chocolate bar:

  • Marshmallows (giant, mini or festively shaped)
  • Candy canes (perfect for stirring)
  • Chocolate sprinkles
  • Fudge chunks
  • Brownie bites
  • Cinnamon
  • Cookie crumbs
  • Chocolate chips
  • Mini meringues
  • Honeycomb
  • Flakes or chocolate bars
  • Crushed nuts
  • Orange peel
  • Wafers
  • Mint leaves
  • Sea salt

And don’t forget the syrups. From toffee to triple chocolate, you need at least a couple of options for drizzling over cream.

5. Set up your adult hot chocolate bar

Right, it’s time to impress. Like any ‘help yourself bar’, this one’s got to be accessible with plenty of room for pouring. 

Pick a central spot (that can cope with the odd spillage) and set up your glassware around the pot of spiked hot cocoa. Next, display your toppings in cute bowls or leftover mugs, or style them on a board as a ‘grazing’ platter to accompany each drink – because snacks really do make everything better. Stick to the festive spirit with mini mince pies or gingerbread cookies, or ask guests to bring their best baked goods for some competition.

Don’t forget napkins, spoons and any festive decor you’ve got leftover. More is definitely more. Then once everyone’s had their first helping, pop your hot chocolate back on the stove to stay warm for round two. 

Happy hot chocolate-ing!

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