AFTER the long chill of what some called “Junuary” this year, Portlanders have earned the right to squeeze every last gasp of summer out of autumn. And there’s no better way to hold on to the fleeting season than to bundle up on the front porch—defiantly imagining it’s still 90 degrees—and cool off with a proper Southern sweet tea.

The Country Cat Dinnerhouse & Bar in the East Side’s Montavilla neighborhood is a farmhouse-meets-fancy joint with a matching menu of classically casual cocktails, among them an excellent Southern summer-stretcher called Skeet Tea.

Mixologist Jessie Matthews dreamed up this menu staple, which combines lemon juice and ginger ale with a tea-infused vodka. Matthews uses simple flavors—basic black tea, neutral potato vodka, and a not-too-snappy ginger ale—to create a well-balanced drink that doesn’t stray far from its original Southern inspiration. Co-owner Jackie Sappington loves its versatility, whether you sip it with snacks or pair it with your meal: “It won’t kill your palate for other dishes—it’s a food-friendly cocktail.” It’s also a great drink to prepare for a gathering. “I’ve given out that recipe more than any other,” Matthews laughs. “It’s easy, it’s social, and it uses ingredients you have at home.”

If you’re not up for infusing your own vodka, you can enjoy a glass of Skeet Tea at the Country Cat year-round. Matthews developed the drink during the sweltering summer of 2009, and when she tried to take it off the menu in the fall she faced a small revolt. “We just had to keep it going throughout the year,” she shrugs. “Everyone wants to keep that summertime feeling alive.”