Love Your London Fog All Year Long
If you, like me, love all things Earl Grey—cocktails, shortbread, ice cream, boba—then you probably, like me, simply can’t wait for cold weather to set in before you get your London Fog latte fix.
Who has that kind of patience?
Summer is the season for iced tea, so why not whip up an Iced London Fog Tea Latte and let that sunshine know that in the beverage cart of life, you are your own master barista! You will not be controlled by the seasons! You will have your Earl Grey cake and eat it, too! With bergamot frosting! Because you are in control of your life!
So whip out those fancy ice cube trays and let’s get brewing.
What is a London Fog?
If I’ve lost anyone along the way because they’re wondering, “Wait…a what fog what?” then let me explain: a London Fog is a tea latte made with Earl Grey tea, vanilla, and a sweetener. In a coffee shop, it is generally served with Vanilla syrup, but by making it at home, you get the joy of customizing your beverage to suit you to a T.
If you’re not sure what Earl Grey tastes like, the defining ingredient is bergamot, which gives the tea a delicate note of citrus. Traditionally, Earl Grey uses black tea as the base, but since the most important ingredient is bergamot, you can also find herbal Earls like Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise—a rooibos base accented with mint, lemongrass, and sage—and Earl Greens like Queen’s Blend green tea—a lemon crème Earl Grey boasting orange peels, and lemon and vanilla essences.
For a classic London Fog, however, I would stick with a black Earl Grey like Mindful Morning (nothing beats the original!) or the creamy, dreamy Crème Brulee Earl Grey, with its subtle jasmine flowers and luscious vanilla extract—it won the popular vote in a Plum Deluxe Customer Appreciation Month for good reason!
And whether you’re enjoying your London Fog first thing in the morning, as an afternoon pick-me-up, or to beat the sweltering heat of a summer evening, Earl Greys come in all variety of caffeine levels. Herbal Greys are naturally non-caffeinated, Earl Greens contain a small amount of caffeine, and select black Earl Greys come in decaf! Earl Grey all day!
How to Make an Iced London Fog
An iced London Fog tea latte needs only five things:
• Earl Grey Tea
Very simple. You can fancy it up, of course, with infused sugars and creams or creative add-ins, but oftentimes, a simple thing is a thing of beauty. And London Fogs are simple beauty.
I would argue that each of these elements is absolutely necessary for a genuine London Fog. They may be adjusted according to taste, but I wouldn’t recommend skipping any of them in an effort to save calories or make a healthier beverage. After all, it may be argued that Earl Grey comes with its own health benefits. I’m all for moderation, but just like a cookie, sometimes healthy substitutes do the trick, and sometimes you just need butter and sugar! (Speaking of cookies, oatmeal hazelnut cookies with Earl Grey buttercream, anyone? Yes and please!)
What Sweeteners to Use
I’m not normally one for sweeteners in my tea, but I have found that a bit of sweetener is necessary for that classic London Fog flavor. It only takes a touch, and it makes a world of difference!
To lean into those sumptuous vanilla vibes, a sprinkling of Vanilla Sugar Dust is the perfect addition! It will highlight the vanilla, draw out the bergamot, and balance the black tea. An all-around delightful add-in.
For a more neutral taste, rock sugar is the way to go! It will enhance the sweetness of your drink without altering the flavor…tasty and unobtrusive.
How to Prepare the Milk
Just like the sweetener, you won’t want to skip the milk in your iced London Fog tea latte! You can use whatever type of milk you’d like—whole, two percent, coconut, almond, oat, soy, you name it—each will add dimension and flavor in their own way. But you’ve got to have milk for a latte! You can have a lovely Earl Grey iced tea without it, but it won’t taste like a London Fog.
Frothing is optional when it comes to iced lattes. If you’re brewing your London Fog using the traditional method, (by first boiling your water and heating your milk,) then you can always use a milk frother to whip up as much bubbly foam as your heart desires. (If you don’t have a milk frother, a whisk will also do the trick!)
If you’re using the cold-brew method and don’t have a milk frother, you can put your drink into an airtight container once you’ve removed the tea leaves and shake it like a martini shaker until you achieve the desired level of foaminess. Yes, I’ve tried it. And yes, it works. (Truth be told, I was a little shocked by how well it worked. Who needs a milk frother, anyway?)
Ratios are always a matter of personal preference, but for me, 1:1 is perfect—equal parts tea and milk is my London Fog sweet spot. You could be on the lighter end of the spectrum, preferring a nice strong cup of Earl Grey with a dainty splash of milk for texture. Or you might favor the rich, creamy latte experience and steep your Earl Grey leaves directly in milk for a luxuriously decadent treat! Follow your instincts—you know what you like—or start with the 1:1 ratio and tweak the recipe as your taste buds suggest.
London Fog Enhancements
If you’d like to up your London Fog game, there are a few flavors that are natural pairings for Earl Grey. When asking the question “what goes well with Earl Grey?” I always turn to lemon and lavender!
Lemon is a time-honored add-in for black tea but it has to be used with caution if you’re combining it with milk—a healthy spritz of lemon juice will cause your milk to curdle!
If you’re a citrus lover and want that zing of lemon to punch up the juicy notes of bergamot in your Earl Grey latte, consider adding some lemon zest to your tea as it steeps or cold brews. The flavors will be present but you won’t run the risk of curdling. A few leaves of lemon balm could work as well.
Lavender-infused milk or sugar is a gorgeous way to add a touch of elegance to your London Fog. Or you can bring out that subtle bouquet of lavender without any effort on your part by brewing a cup of Delightful Morning Blend—a lavender Earl Grey that is sure to delight lovers of lavender morning, noon, and night! (Also available in decaf.)
If you’re in the habit of making your own simple syrups: vanilla, lavender, or lemon syrup would make a great addition to your iced London Fog. Plus, you can always use the leftovers for a tasty iced tea cocktail!
Iced tea season brings about ample opportunities for delicious drinks: iced chai lattes, tropical iced teas, iced tea with bourbon, Thai iced tea...but nothing bridges the gap between seasons and moods quite like an iced London Fog tea latte. Refreshing. Cozy. Invigorating. Comforting. A frosty hug in a mug—just the thing to perk you up, any time you want it!
Iced London Fog: Cold Brew
- 4 ounces water
- 4 ounces milk of choice
- 1 teaspoon Earl Grey loose leaf of choice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar dust, simple syrup, or sweetener of choice
- Handful of ice
Combine all ingredients (except for ice) in a mug.
Let steep in fridge 4-6 hours, or overnight.
Strain out tea leaves.
If frothing or shaking to produce foam, do so now.
Stir gently (very gently, when the foam is present), serve, and enjoy!
Yield: One 8-ounce latte
Iced London Fog: Traditional Steeping Method
- 4 ounces water
- 4 ounces milk of choice
- 1/2 to 2 teaspoon Earl Grey loose leaf of choice, depending on desired strength
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar dust, rock sugar, or sweetener of choice
- 2 handfuls of ice
Bring water to a boil.
While water is boiling, heat milk, vanilla, and sweetener in a small saucepan, stirring occasionally so that the milk does not burn* (or whisking vigorously** if you like a foamy latte.)
Steep Earl Grey leaves in boiling water for 3-5 minutes, or to desired strength. Add milk, reserving foam.
Add one handful of ice cubes and stir vigorously to cool the drink, until the ice has melted.
Add a second handful of ice cubes to the cooled latte.
Top with foam.
Serve and enjoy!
Yield: One 10 to 12-ounce latte (depending on the amount of ice cubes added to cool the drink.)
*Note: if you don’t use a kettle for your water, water and milk can be heated in the same saucepan.
**You can also use a milk frother to whip up your milk once it is heated.