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Flat White Cocktail: All You Need To Know About The Drink From Down Under

By: Shreya Goswami

Flat White Cocktail: All You Need To Know About The Drink From Down Under

Editor's note: This article was originally published on 20 November 2023, and has been refreshed in light of the Flat White Google Doodle, as seen on 11 March 2024.


In 2015, a new entrant on the menu of what is clearly the most popular coffee chain in the world created waves among caffeine lovers. From there, the Australian Flat White made its way across the world and won hearts for its unique place among coffee-based beverages. Since then, the Flat White has undergone an intriguing transformation from a beloved caffeinated beverage to a delightful cocktail. 

Originating in the land Down Under, the Flat White is more than just a coffee variant; it's an embodiment of Australian coffee culture. In fact, when it comes to its origins, the Flat White is part of a heated debate between Australians and New Zealanders, both of whom claim to have invented this unique beverage. (An ode to its significance to both countries can probably be seen in the Google Doodle inspired by the Flat White, as see on March 11, 2024. You can view it here.)  

And now, with its evolution into a cocktail, the Flat White has sparked a trend in mixology circles, merging the essence of coffee culture with the artistry of cocktails. 

Flat white cocktail

The Flat White: A Heritage Brew from Australia 

The Flat White's roots trace back to Australia, where its inception is enveloped in a bit of coffee folklore. Emerging in the 1980s or possibly earlier, the Flat White embodies simplicity and sophistication. Many believe that after the Second World War, Italian immigrants flooded into Australia and improved the nation’s coffee culture—which ultimately resulted in the birth of the Flat White in either Sydney or Melbourne. Others believe that the Flat White was born in the 1990s in Wellington, New Zealand.  

Whatever the true origin of the Flat White may be, it is undeniable that it only crossed oceans and gained popularity worldwide since the early 2000s. With Australian cafes opening up in the UK during this time, the Flat White got picked up by coffee lovers. Soon enough, the beverage crossed the Atlantic and made its way to the US, where it was picked up by the ever-popular coffee culture.  

Understanding Flat White Flavours 

With so many coffee-based beverages popular all over the world, how does one understand the popularity of the Flat White? Well, to start out, a Flat White is crafted by pouring velvety micro-foam over a double shot of espresso, resulting in a smooth, creamy texture that accentuates the rich coffee flavour without the froth of a cappuccino or the density of a latte. Sounds like an average latte, right? 

The difference between a latte and a Flat White lies in the proportion of milk and foam utilised to make the beverage. While lattes have more steamed milk and foam, a Flat White has a thin layer of micro-foam. Also, a latte is traditionally made with one shot of espresso while a Flat White has two, making it stronger and less milky beverage.  

Flat white cocktail 2

The Birth of the Flat White Cocktail 

The transition of the Flat White from a morning caffeine fix to an evening indulgence took shape in the form of the Flat White Cocktail. Its history, although not as deeply rooted as its coffee counterpart, commenced in the mixology scene in recent years. In 1983, bartender Dick Bradsell created the Espresso Martini which took the London party scene by storm. This started off the trend of mixing coffee-based beverages with alcohol to create infusions that alert the senses and then help you relax as the flavour profile of the drink takes over.  

Inspired by this, mixologists and those who love the Australian gift to the world of coffee sought to innovate by infusing the essence of the beloved Flat White into a cocktail. This evolution was a fusion of two worlds, bringing together the robustness of coffee with the sophistication of mixology, and was mostly made possible by Baileys Irish Cream Liqueur. Crafted with two shots of espresso like the Flat White is, and Baileys Irish Cream Liqueur, the Flat White Cocktail soon found its place on menus in bars and restaurants worldwide, captivating the taste buds of cocktail enthusiasts. 

How Baileys Liqueur Enhances The Flat White 

One of the defining enhancements to the Flat White is the addition of Baileys Irish Cream Liqueur to turn it into an incredibly creamy and decadent cocktail. This inclusion elevates the Aussie beverage's richness, adding a creamy, velvety texture that harmonizes seamlessly with the coffee's depth and flavours. The marriage of the smoothness of Baileys with the robustness of the coffee in the Flat White Cocktail creates a luxurious taste profile that appeals to both coffee aficionados and cocktail enthusiasts alike. 

Baileys, with its blend of Irish whisky, cream, and cocoa, intertwines beautifully with the espresso base of the Flat White Cocktail, offering a delightful complexity of flavours you will be hard-pressed to find even in an Espresso Martini. This addition not only accentuates the cocktail's taste but also enhances its visual appeal with the mesmerising swirls formed by the liqueur blending into the coffee. 

Flat white cocktail 3

Crafting The Perfect Flat White Cocktail 

Creating the perfect Flat White Cocktail requires precision and a few quality ingredients: 


2 shots of espresso 

60ml of Baileys Irish Cream Liqueur 

Ice cubes 

Cocktail shaker 


Brew two shots of espresso and allow them to cool to room temperature. 

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice cubes. 

Pour the cooled espresso over the ice in the shaker. 

Add 60ml of Baileys Irish Cream Liqueur to the shaker. 

Shake the ingredients vigorously for about 15-20 seconds. 

Strain the mixture into a chilled cocktail glass and serve up immediately.

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