My thanks to Sonoma Syrup for sponsoring this post. I only work with brands I personally use.
While it may sound like a drink from England’s Victorian era, legend has it that the London Fog latte drink, Earl Grey tea flavored with vanilla and topped with foamy milk, was invented in the late 1990s at a Vancouver cafe for a customer who was pregnant and did not want to drink coffee. We may never know if the story is true, but it is a very popular drink on the West Coast and especially in and around Vancouver and Victoria in British Columbia.
The origins of Earl Grey tea are also a bit mysterious. It is said to be named after Charles Grey, the 2nd Earl Grey who was a British Prime Minister in 1830. Who came up with the blend and why remains a source of some debate but there are ads referencing Earl Grey tea from the 1880s. Earl Grey tea is a Chinese black tea flavored with bergamot, a type of sour orange that is very fragrant, and possibly a hybrid of lemon and bitter orange, it pairs quite nicely with lavender or vanilla. In fact, both are quite frequently blended into Earl Grey tea.
Earl Grey is one of those teas that is complemented by either lemon or milk. A bit of sugar also rounds out the tangy citrus notes. The foamy milk in the latte version is supposed to be reminiscent of fog, but someone I know who normally drinks tea with lemon likes milky tea on rainy days. I also like Earl Grey tea with milk on cold days, it’s invigorating and adds a bit of brightness and the latte version feels particularly cozy. For my version of a London Fog, I use lavender rather than vanilla. It enhances the fragrance and floral qualities. But you could try it with vanilla syrup if you prefer or maybe a bit of both! This drink is very good with shortbread cookies or scones.
Bring water to a boil and place a tea bag into a cup. Pour the hot water over the tea bag and let it steep for 3 minutes and then add the syrup and stir. In a small saucepan or in a mug in the microwave, gently heat the milk until hot and use a milk frother or whip it in the blender until very foamy. Pour the foamy milk into the tea. Garnish with the tiniest pinch of crushed lavender if desired.