Christmas with the editors: Alice Casely-Hayford

Hosting the Christmas cocktail party this year? Can’t face another mince pie or over-played festive hit? Then it’s time to up your game. From bespoke mix-ups to cutting-edge canapés – throw the most beautiful soirée, fashion editor style.

The first in our three part series, Fashion Editor @Refinery29UK Alice Casely-Hayford talks picture perfect style, elegant interiors and avoiding reindeer on the roof. Brace yourselves, this is party etiquette 101.

The dress code…
I’m still into last season’s killer trends – ruffles and off-the-shoulder silhouettes – so the more frills the better! I’ll be wearing an off-the-shoulder midi dress or a ruffled blouse with tapered black trousers and velvet sandals. Velvet is only for the brave, so I’ll make do with accessories rather than a full-on look, for now. Beauty wise, I love a barely-there base with a deep plum or glittering red lip. Make-up artist Pat McGrath has been doing this a lot recently and it’s a winner for the festive season.

On the menu…
Something in a big sharing platter – nothing too fussy so everyone can get stuck in. Maybe a risotto, seafood linguine or rich tagine. I love cavolo nero, pumpkin, chestnuts and cranberries – all the winter seasonal foods that makes me feel festive. My tip for avoiding pre-party chaos it to prep as much as you can the day before and allocate enough time so you’re not locked in the kitchen when your guests arrive.

Decking the halls…
Quite simple. A humble tree and chic baubles. I’m not one for banners, party hats or flashing reindeer on the roof. I prefer more understated elegance. My mother has always decorated our family home beautifully with minimal, sophisticated pieces gathered on her travels. I love Le Creuset and The White Company for homewares at the moment.

The soundtrack…
Blue Boy Song Remember Me
Jamie xx Good Times
Kanye West Fade
Drake One Dance
Donna Summer I Feel Love

Behind the bar…
Pisco Inferno

50ml/2 fl oz Pisco
15ml/ 2⁄3 fl oz Fresh lemon juice
10ml/ 1⁄3 fl oz Honey syrup see Larder, p158
1 Nectarine
2 Shiso leaves
Cocktail glass
Nectarine fan 

Cut the nectarine in half, remove the stone, then cut into pieces. Muddle the nectarine and shiso in the bottom of a shaker. Add the other ingredients and shake with cubed ice for 10 seconds. Double strain into a glass.

Taken from Cocktail Cookbook by Oskar Kinberg

Follow Alice: @alcaselyhayford

Want to know more? Read the second and the third part of this editorial series.