Bourbon Vanilla London Fog (Earl Grey Latte)

October 19, 2021

Feel super cozy with this tea-based latte, featuring a homemade rich simple syrup filled with the delicious flavors and aromas of whiskey and vanilla. Bergamot and bourbon come together in a Bourbon and Vanilla London Fog, or Earl Grey Latte.

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Inspiration comes from everywhere. In this case, it was from the Wegmans coffee bar. One of their seasonal drinks is called the Foggy Londoner, and it’s an Earl Grey latte featuring a bourbon and vanilla flavored syrup. Sound familiar? I won’t say this is a complete copycat, because unfortunately, I couldn’t order the caffeinated version from Wegmans. But here’s my take on the concept.

I started with my favorite bourbon to use for cooking and mixing, Maker’s Mark, and then I paired that with my favorite decaffeinated Earl Grey tea, Twinings. If you are able to enjoy caffeine, feel free to use your favorite tea instead. Add vanilla, sugar, and frothy milk. The result is a sweet, smooth way to enjoy a cool morning.

What You Need to Get Started

You can easily find all of the ingredients for this Bourbon Vanilla London Fog at your local stores:

How to Make Bourbon Vanilla Syrup

This latte is the perfect choice for an easy weekday breakfast. Even including the syrup, the whole drink comes together in just about fifteen minutes. And since the alcohol content is negligible (see note), you might as well enjoy them all week.

The first time you make this Bourbon and Vanilla London Fog, you’ll need to prepare the syrup. The recipe makes about three quarters of a cup, or six ounces, which is enough for plenty of lattes – either to share or just for you.

To get started, use your smallest saucepan. In it, combine sugar, water, bourbon, and vanilla extract. Stir these together, and cook over medium heat. Continue stirring until the sugar has dissolved and the liquid appears transparent, although it will be a golden color.

Once the sugar has dissolved, you can stop stirring. Then, allow the liquid to just begin to boil and bubble and turn off the heat. There’s no need to keep it boiling unless you want an even richer and sweeter syrup.

Immediately transfer the bourbon vanilla syrup to a heat-proof jar. You can use it hot in your London Fog, but allow it to cool to room temperature, loosely covered, before storing. You can make the syrup a few weeks in advance and store it in a sealed container in the fridge.

Let’s Make a Bourbon Vanilla London Fog

To begin the drink itself, we’ll start by brewing the Earl Grey. Unlike a normal cup of tea, you will only be using about three ounces of water. This is because much of the liquid in the latte will be the frothy milk that comes later.

Add the tea bag and the small amount of boiling water into your favorite mug that can hold at least twelve ounces. Allow the tea to steep for a few minutes, checking the instructions to see what the tea company recommends. Then squeeze out any excess liquid from the tea bag and remove it.

Stir a couple teaspoons of the bourbon vanilla syrup right into the brewed tea. Since the sugar has already dissolved in the syrup, it’s extra simple to mix this into your drink. You can use this at any temperature, from right out of the fridge to just off the stove.

Set the sweetened and flavored tea aside to cool slightly and prepare your milk. I generally recommend dairy milk for making any type of latte. However, if you want to make this drink plant-based, use your favorite dairy-free milk substitute. Try to find one that froths well, such as oat milk.

There are a couple different methods that you can use to get frothy milk. If you have an espresso machine with a steaming wand, that will likely be the fastest and easiest method.

Otherwise, you can heat the milk either on the stove or in the microwave until it’s hot but not scalding. Then use a handheld milk frother until it is light and foamy. Finally, if you have no additional tools on your coffee bar, you can add the cold milk to a jar and seal it tightly. Shake the jar vigorously until the milk is frothy, and then microwave it uncovered until warm.

Once you have the milk heated, frothed up, and ready to go, it’s time to add it into the tea to make a London Fog.

Before pouring, give the tea a gentle stir to introduce some movement. Then pour the steamed milk into the mug, using a spoon to hold back any foam. If you didn’t use an espresso machine, you may not have enough foam to worry about holding it back.

Once you have added all of the liquid milk, remove the spoon to add the foam on top of the mug. The foam can sit right at or even a little bit above the rim of the mug, so be sure to get all of that frothy goodness.

Give your drink a small taste and if you think it needs a bit more sweetness or bourbon flavor, stir in up to a teaspoon of additional syrup. I love mine with just a small drizzle extra. Enjoy this London Fog immediately after making for the best taste and experience.

Chilly morning? Wake up to this blanket-in-a-mug, with a Bourbon Vanilla London Fog. It’s an Earl Grey latte with cozy and sweet homemade syrup and steamed milk.

How to Serve a Bourbon and Vanilla London Fog

I always love a warm drink like this for breakfast. Whether you are lingering on a long weekend with some cream cheese and nectarine stuffed french toast, or you are grabbing a banana rum muffin on your way out the door, this latte is the perfect addition.

You could also wind down with this drink after a long day of work with some sweet treats. Try pairing it with some lemon curd sandwich cookies or buttercream and plum jam macarons. Add some fresh apples with ginger caramel dipping sauce, and it would make a lovely snack spread to share.

For dessert, you are sure to love the warm and cold contrast of this London Fog with a homemade peach ice cream sandwich. Or if you’re a chocolate lover, serve up a few of these lattes with slices of miso chocolate torte with butterscotch sauce.

Use Up Leftover Ingredients

Other Cafe Drinks to Try

Vanilla Bourbon London Fog (Earl Grey Latte)

A sweet fall take on a coffee shop classic, this latte combines Earl Grey tea with a homemade bourbon vanilla syrup and freshly steamed milk.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: Breakfast, Brunch, Drinks
Cuisine: American, English
Servings: 1 latte
Calories: 102kcal

Ingredients

Bourbon Vanilla Syrup

  • ½ Cup Sugar
  • ¼ Cup Water
  • 2 Tbsp Bourbon
  • ½ tsp Vanilla extract

Bourbon Vanilla London Fog

  • 3 oz Water boiling
  • 1 Earl Grey Tea Bag
  • 2-3 tsp Bourbon Vanilla Syrup
  • 8 oz Milk

Instructions

  • Make the syrup: In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, water, bourbon, and vanilla extract. Cook over medium heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved and liquid appears transparent. Allow the water to just begin to boil, and then turn off the heat and transfer to a heat-proof jar.
  • Add the tea bag and boiling water to a 12-ounce mug. Allow the tea to steep for 3-5 minutes, then squeeze out any excess liquid from the tea bag and remove. Stir in 2 tsp of the syrup.
  • Steam and/or froth the milk using your preferred method:
    - Use your espresso machine
    - Warm the milk the microwave or on top of the stove until about 110F, then use a handheld milk frother until foamy
    - Add cold milk to a jar and seal tightly, shake until it's frothy, and then microwave uncovered for 30 seconds.
  • Give the tea a gentle stir, then pour the steamed milk into the mug, using a spoon to hold back any foam. Once you have added all of the liquid milk, remove the spoon to add the foam on top of the mug.
  • Taste and add additional syrup if desired. Enjoy immediately.

Notes

  • Make ahead tip: You can make the bourbon vanilla syrup up to 3-4 weeks in advance and store it in a sealed container in the fridge. 
  • Make it plant-based: Use your favorite dairy-free milk substitute, trying to find one that froths well, such as oat milk.
  • Alcohol content: If you use a 90 proof bourbon, such as Maker's Mark, and 2 teaspoons of syrup in a 12-ounce drink, the total ABV of the latte is about 0.1%, which is less than many products considered "no-alcohol."
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