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Could you bear to cheer a CHEESE G&T?

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Fancy a gin made with Parmesan cheese? Or seaweed? Or how about Spanish olives with a pinch of salt?

Yes, really — a host of decidedly unconventional “savory gins” hit shelves this fall, including one made with parsnips from former Top Gear geek James May.

They work well for those of us who prefer a bitter or salty edge to our cocktails, and are perfect for supping indoors when the nights fall. Here’s my guide to the craziest and best. . .

SUBTLE SEAWEED

Da Mhile Welsh Seaweed Gin, 70cl, £36.37, masterofmalt.com or direct from damhile.co.uk

Da Mhile Welsh Seaweed Gin, 70cl, £36.37, masterofmalt.com or direct from damhile.co.uk

WHAT IS IT? Created on a family-run organic farm in Ceredigion, West Wales, this unusual gin uses hand-picked seaweed and other sea vegetables to give a salty, funky edge.

TASTE: Smooth, super soft and fresh with notes of mint. The taste is less that of real seaweed and more of an evocation of being by the sea.

VERDICT: Subtle and elegant, perfectly pure with oysters. 4.5/5

PUNCHY PARMESAN

Audemus Umami Gin, £34.95, 50cl, thewhiskyexchange.com

Audemus Umami Gin, £34.95, 50cl, thewhiskyexchange.com

Audemus Umami Gin, £34.95, 50cl, thewhiskyexchange.com

WHAT IS IT? Launched this summer, the main ingredient is a 30-month-old Parmesan cheese, which is steeped in alcohol. The full list of ingredients is a secret, but includes Italian capers.

TASTE: You’ll get quite a briny, salty, ripe twang when you drink this, which evokes Parmesan, if not strictly taste it. A gourmet gin that will appeal to the gastronomic curious.

VERDICT: It makes for a wonderful Martini with an olive garnish. Serve with cheese! 5/5

SPICY PARSNIP

James May gin, 70cl, £39, jamesgin.com

James May gin, 70cl, £39, jamesgin.com

James May gin, 70cl, £39, jamesgin.com

WHAT IS IT? Like any savvy celebrity, former Top Gear host James May has created his own cult drink. The difference is that he used Asian parsnips, plus coriander, cardamom, grains of paradise, ginger and fenugreek. The minimalist label is slightly medical, with a nod to Haynes car manuals.

TASTE: Understated, with a hint of Asian parsnip.

VERDICT: It has a tantalizing cardamom and pepper aroma, a hearty dose of alcohol and lots of earthy, nutty flavor, but it didn’t do the botanicals justice. I expected more of a kick and a kick. 2.5/5

CLEAN OLIVE

Gin Mare, 70cl, £38.25, masterofmalt.com

Gin Mare, 70cl, £38.25, masterofmalt.com

WHAT IS IT? One of the first savory gins, Gin Mare’s botanicals read like a Mediterranean cookbook: Catalan Arbequina olives, Greek rosemary, Italian basil, and Turkish thyme.

The distillery is located in a former chapel in a fishing village outside Barcelona. It comes in a desirable blue bottle with a wave effect at the base.

TASTE: Clean and herbaceous with a hint of balsamic. The notes of basil and thyme lead to peppery olive and resinous juniper with a good savory finish.

VERDICT: Sip his latest spirit, Gin Mare Capri, (£42.50, 70cl, masterofmalt.com), which has added notes of lemon and bergamot, over ice with a nice tonic, a sprig of rosemary and a slice of lemon. It would go nicely together ratatouille and fried chicken. 4.5/5

SALT SPIRIT

Portobello Road Savory, 70cl, £35, portobelloroadgin.com

Portobello Road Savory, 70cl, £35, portobelloroadgin.com

Portobello Road Savory, 70cl, £35, portobelloroadgin.com

WHAT IS IT? The Notting Hill distillery adds a pinch of sea salt to give this gin a touch of coast, alongside Calabrian bergamot and green olives from Seville. The name is a nod to a nickname for illegal gin sold by street traders in 19th-century London.

TASTE: Earthy and robust, with a lingering dry finish and a subtle salty taste that leaves you wanting more. Perfect for a ‘let’s prolong the holiday’ early evening G&T and to serve with tapas.

VERDICT: Makes a fantastic Martini using fino sherry and finished with a Gordal olive and a little brine. 4/5.

MACADAMIA MANIA

Four Pillars Olive Leaf Gin, £35.70cl, masterofmalt.com

Four Pillars Olive Leaf Gin, £35.70cl, masterofmalt.com

Four Pillars Olive Leaf Gin, £35.70cl, masterofmalt.com

WHAT IS IT? Made by Australia’s best-known experimental gin distillery using extra virgin olive oil and leaves from three different olive varieties, plus seven Australian botanicals, including macadamia and rosemary.

TASTE: A complex aroma, akin to sake, with a subtle olive flavour.

VERDICT: I would drink it on its own or as a refined G&T with a slice of orange. Delicious with grilled fish. 5/5

ASIAN AROMATICS

Tarsier Southeast Asian Dry, 70cl, £34.95, tarsierspirit.com

Tarsier Southeast Asian Dry, 70cl, £34.95, tarsierspirit.com

Tarsier Southeast Asian Dry, 70cl, £34.95, tarsierspirit.com

WHAT IS IT? Signature botanicals of calamansi, galangal, Thai sweet basil and kampot pepper were chosen to combine Southeast Asian food. The name Tarsier refers to the small endangered primates – 10 percent of the profit from the sale goes to the Philippine Tarsier Foundation.

TASTE: Temptingly aromatic with a Southeast Asian character.

VERDICT: Serve with ginger ale and ginger or lime slices. 4.5/5

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