The London Fog Latte Started As A Pregnancy Craving

The London Fog latte is the perfect combination of Earl Grey tea, steamed milk, and vanilla syrup — or, originally, vanilla sugar. It's a less-caffeinated alternative if you're looking for something more unique than your usual morning cup of coffee, and the name reflects the drinking experience — think a rainy, slightly chilly London day. While its namesake is the British city, the latte was actually conceived in Vancouver, Canada because of a pregnant woman's cravings.

The Buckwheat Cafe in Vancouver is the exact place of origin of the London Fog, which was created by a woman named Mary Loria. During her pregnancy, she and her husband would often visit the cafe, and Loria wanted a beverage that wouldn't upset her stomach. One day, she ordered Earl Grey tea and steamed skim milk — with much skepticism from her barista — and loved the combination. Loria continued to order the drink and would add an additional sprinkle of vanilla sugar for some sweetness. She went on to recommend it to friends at other cafes, and somehow the drink caught on and has continued to gain popularity since. 

The foggy origins of the name

Although Loria came up with the flavor combination, she has no idea where the name "London Fog" came from. She recounts seeing the drink on cafe menus, even years after she stopped drinking it — and admits that she didn't recognize it at first because of its new moniker. Now, over twenty years later, Loria prefers to drink her Earl Grey in its purest form — without milk.

So if Loria didn't name the drink, who did? Although it's not known exactly who decided on the final iteration of the drink's name, many have speculated that it could have a connection to the appearance of the beverage. The base of the latte is Earl Grey tea, a black tea softly scented with bergamot and lavender. Much like any other latte, the steamed milk component is added to the tea. As it's poured in, the pale milk mixes with the tea and creates a cloudy appearance, much like you might see on a foggy day in London.

The London Fog now takes on a number of forms

Since its inception, the London Fog has migrated around the world and is loved by many. But besides the classic, there are regional variations of the latte as well. In Ireland, the Dublin Fog is a tea latte that swaps out the Earl Grey for Irish Breakfast tea instead. The Mexican Fog incorporates agave as a sweetener instead of vanilla syrup. In Loria's home country of Canada, the Halifax Fog latte uses maple syrup instead of vanilla — very Canadian of them. An Oregon Mist uses peppermint tea with amaretto, the Atlantic City Fog uses rose tea — not Earl Grey, and a Maui Fog? That swaps vanilla for coconut.

If you enjoy the flavors of a London Fog but want to kick it up a notch, consider crafting a London Fog cocktail. There are many recipes around — some use scotch and top the drink with foam. Others incorporate gin and involve making an Earl Grey flavored simple syrup. Others still use a blend of gin and absinthe. Get creative at home by adding some Earl Grey to gin for a banger gin punch to make parties better. Or even try a Providence Punch, which blends Earl Grey with rum.

There are also other tea-based lattes, like the chai latte, that have been transformed into cocktails. A chai espresso martini adds the flavors of chai tea to the traditional vodka and Kahlúa of an espresso martini.