Super easy homemade peppermint mochas made with DIY syrup recipes, now with a lower sugar option! With a few additions and packaging ideas, you can also make a quick and inexpensive gift with the included printable tags.
If you like this idea, find more like it on the handmade gifts page.
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Our family loves peppermint mochas and we always try to combine a trip to Starbucks with a holiday event as a special treat in December.
But, wow, are they expensive - especially for a whole family and sometimes a few friends.
Since I knew that the drink was basically hot chocolate, coffee, and a bit of peppermint syrup I thought I could save money by making them at home - and more importantly to be able to have peppermint mochas more than once a season.
Spoiler - I've saved a LOT of money over the years - this is one DIY that really pays off!
These mochas/hot chocolates have now become a part of our Christmas morning tradition - we make them first thing before opening our stockings.
Once I realized how easy homemade peppermint mochas were - and since we thought they were just as good as the Starbuck's version - I knew I had to share this with family and friends.
So one year we gifted family and friends on our list with peppermint mocha gift baskets (peppermint hot chocolate for non-coffee drinkers) - filled with the syrups needed, a recipe, and a couple fun additions.
The baskets were a big hit and so easy and quick to put together - nothing is hard about it.
This version of homemade peppermint mocha is super easy using our homemade chocolate syrup, milk, coffee (or more milk for hot chocolate fans), and the peppermint syrup (recipe below).
NEW: We now only use chocolate syrup with peppermint extract added to cut the sweetness of the mochas. It's less sugar and we like it better!
We usually top the drinks with whipped cream like the coffee shops, but vanilla marshmallows are also SO good (homemade or store bought) - and they're something that you can add to the basket.
The basket and the peppermint sticks both came from the dollar store, so nothing about this basket is going to cost you a lot, thank goodness.
You'll find all the directions below to make your own syrups, how to make individual mochas, plus how to make the gift baskets, including links to download the (updated!) printable recipe cards and bottle labels to make it even easier for you!
Homemade Peppermint Mochas
For Homemade Peppermint Mochas or Hot Chocolate
- Make a batch of Homemade Chocolate Syrup: (recipe also found in the printable recipe below). Pour into glass container and store in the refrigerator.
- Make a batch of Simple Peppermint Syrup: Make according to recipe card below, let cool and then pour into glass containers to store in fridge.
LOWER SUGAR OPTION: As our family has become use to less sugar in our diets, our annual peppermint mochas started tasting overly sweet. Here's how to make the mochas and hot chocolate with less sugar:
- Make ONLY the chocolate syrup, but add 1-1/2 teaspoons of peppermint extract at the same time you add the vanilla before letting cool. Store in a glass jar in the fridge and label "Chocolate Peppermint Syrup."
- Do not make the peppermint syrup at all (bonus - this easy recipe is even easier with less sugar!).
- Make the mochas and hot chocolates as below, but add only the 2 tablespoons chocolate peppermint syrup.
I always encourage you to try lower sugar options of pretty sweet things - most of the time we never even notice the difference, and in this case, we think it's better!
- For each large mug of Peppermint Mocha or Chocolate:
- Add 1/2 cup warmed milk (1 cup for hot chocolate).
- 1/2 cup strong coffee (omit for hot chocolate).
- 2 tablespoons chocolate syrup (or chocolate peppermint syrup)
- 1 tablespoon peppermint syrup and stir well (omit if using lower sugar option).
- Top with whipped cream or marshmallows and crushed peppermint candies.
Repeat as often as your syrup lasts - no $5 a cup needed!
For Peppermint Mocha Gift Baskets
Supplies Needed for One basket
- Two glass containers for syrups: either half-pint canning jars (these are a fun shape), or tall bottles with spouts (also, don't be afraid to upcycle - the bottle with the green lid is an old soy sauce bottle!). I mostly used the canning jars, except for a couple I made like the basket pictured.
- Ingredients for syrups and marshmallows, if making.
- Peppermint stir sticks.
- Basket or gift bag and filler; clear cellophane bags for marshmallows and peppermint sticks.
- Free printable labels (updated below from what is pictured here) and ribbon ties (here is a gold twine similar to what I used).
Directions for Basket
- Make chocolate and peppermint syrups. Divide into glass containers.
- Make a batch of homemade marshmallows (here's an easy recipe) or buy some what you need. Add 3-6 to a cellophane bag and tie.
- Add 4-6 peppermint sticks to a bag and tie.
- Print out the labels and recipe cards below.
- Attach labels to syrup containers.
- Add filler to basket or bag and add one container each of the syrups along with a package of the marshmallows, candy, and finally the recipe card.
- Wrap entire basket with clear wrapping paper or place in a large dollar store gift bag.
Printable Peppermint Mocha Gift Basket Labels
Note: Labels have been updated labels from those pictured to be more clean-lined.
Click here to open the Peppermint & Chocolate Syrup Labels (or click on the image above) to open in a new window then right-click to save to your computer.
Cut out and glue to tops of canning jar lids or punch holes to hang on tall bottles as pictured.
Click here to open the Peppermint Mocha/Hot Chocolate Recipe Cards (or click the image above) to open in a new window then right-click to save to your computer, cut out and add to the baskets.
Easy Homemade Peppermint Mocha/Hot Chocolate (+ Lower Sugar Option)
- small saucepan
- jars and/or bottles
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder
- 3/4 – 1 cup sugar lower amount makes a "dark" chocolate syrup
- pinch salt
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- *1½ teaspoons peppermint extract if making lower sugar option
Peppermint Syrup (Omit for Lower Sugar Option):
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons pure peppermint extract
To make one serving of Peppermint Mocha or Hot Chocolate:
- 1/2 cup warmed milk 1 cup for hot chocolate
- 1/2 cup strong coffee omit for hot chocolate
- 2 tablespoons chocolate syrup -OR chocolate peppermint syrup for lower sugar version
- 1 tablespoon peppermint syrup -OMIT for lower sugar version
- Optional for serving: whipped cream or marshmallows, crushed peppermint candies
- Mix cocoa, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan. Stir in enough boiling water to form a smooth paste. Stir in remaining water.
- Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring often. Let simmer 2-3 minutes (I like the longer time as it makes the syrup a bit thicker), stirring occasionally.
- Remove from heat and add the vanilla (and peppermint extract for lower sugar version). Let cool.
- Scrape it into a bottle or jar and store in the refrigerator 4-6 weeks.
Peppermint Syrup (if using):
- Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and stir for 4-5 minutes until sugar is completely dissolved (mixture should be clear).
- Remove from heat and add the peppermint extract. Let cool and then pour into glass containers to store in the refrigerator.
To make a serving of peppermint mocha or hot chocolate:
- Mix warmed milk, coffee (if using), and syrup(s) in a large mug.
- Top with your choice of whipped cream or marshmallows and crushed peppermint candies.
More DIY Gift Baskets
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