Characters: Jack, Ianto, Owen, Tosh, Gwen.
Summary: Ianto has taken to brewing something else as well as his coffee, and it’s proving just as popular.
Word Count: 711
Written For: My own prompt ‘Any, Any, Ginger beer is addictive,’ at fic_promptly.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters. They belong to the BBC.
Bored and hot, Jack wandered into the Hub’s small kitchen area where Ianto was busy with… something peculiar. Leaning on the countertop beside his lover, he watched, fascinated. “What’s that?”
“It’s a ginger beer plant,” Ianto replied. “With the unseasonably warm weather we’ve been having lately, I thought some homemade ginger beer might make a refreshing change from hot coffee.”
“Oh.” Jack frowned. “If it’s a plant, where are its leaves?”
Ianto chuckled. “It’s not exactly a plant, Jack, it’s just called that because it grows. Rhi’s got the one our mam started years ago, so when it was time for her to divide it again, I asked her if I could have half. I had one in London, but it got left behind.” A lot of things had been abandoned when Ianto had fled the capital with Lisa in an attempt to save her. Adding sugar and ground ginger to his new plant, Ianto covered it with muslin to keep anything unpleasant from getting in; around the Hub you could never be too careful. “Once it gets a bit bigger, I’ll make a batch of ginger beer.”
Ianto was as good as his word; within three weeks he was serving the team fresh ginger beer, and he already had a second batch fermenting. Once he divided his plant again, he’d be able to have a batch fermenting while feeding up the second plant. Then he could simply switch them over and be in continuous production; that way they’d always have plenty to go around.
Which turned out to be just as well.
“Ginger beer!” Jack cheered, slurping from his glass. “Just what I need after the day I’ve had!”
“Any kind of alcohol’s good enough for me,” Owen agreed, taking a swig from his own glass.
“It’s lovely.” Tosh sipped hers appreciatively. “Really spicy and tart.”
Ianto smiled in satisfaction. “That’s the lemon in it.”
“This is good stuff. Is it hard to make? I bet Rhys would love it.” Gwen licked away her ginger beer moustache.
“Not too difficult, I’m sure Rhys would have no trouble with the brewing. I’ll print out instructions and once I’ve got production here going smoothly, I’ll let you have a piece of the plant for him. He’ll need some equipment, but it’s probably nothing he doesn’t already have. He just needs to make sure everything’s sterilised properly.”
Summer moved into autumn, and still the team were supping ginger beer. Not that they’d stopped drinking coffee or anything, Torchwood would grind to a halt if they weren’t sufficiently caffeinated, but there were always bottles of the team’s second favourite tipple in the kitchen cupboard, and another batch or two fermenting. Ianto had four plants by now, and Rhys had two, keeping some of his beer for himself and Gwen to drink, and giving the rest away to friends and neighbours.
“You never told me when you started making this stuff just how addictive it is,” Jack said, pouring himself a glass one evening.
“Are you complaining?”
“No, just saying. You know what? We should send some to Lizzie at Christmas.”
Ianto laughed. “I can just see it, England’s reigning monarch getting tipsy on homemade ginger beer!”
“Trust me; she’d love it.”
“You really think so?”
“I’m sure of it.”
Early the following year, they got an urgent telegram from the palace, reading, ‘Please send more ginger beer. One has run out.’ So they did, and kept sending a few bottles each month after that. After all, Queen Elizabeth was the holder of Torchwood’s purse strings, and it was therefore important to keep her happy. Besides, she was also their friend, and they were the ones responsible for getting her hooked on the stuff so it would hardly be fair to cut off her supply. It seemed to be doing her good though, and nobody was complaining, least of all Lizzie herself, who swore a glass every night was just the tonic she needed to keep her healthy.
It wasn’t without its compensations for Torchwood either.
Ianto smiled to himself as he looked at the plaque he’d been sent from the palace; he knew just where he was going to hang it.
Ianto Jones, Brewer to the Queen.
That was quite an honour!