Mattress Mac may be able to save you money. But in saving us money, he has made quite a bit for himself, which is as it should be. It seems that the skinny guy shoving dollar bills into the television camera on his ubiquitous late-night commercials is also James McIngvale, refined and sophisticated owner of more than 60 Thoroughbred race horses. In 1999 McIngvale put up the $750,000 purse for the Gallery Furniture.com Stakes race at Turfway Park in Florence, Kentucky. Since the Kentucky Derby already had dibs on the mint julep, Turfway invented a theme drink for the Gallery Furniture race. It was called the Raspberry Recliner, in honor of the source of the McIngvale fortune. The Kentucky Post reported that teetotaler McIngvale tried a nonalcoholic version.
I had to try one of these drinks, which went over well at the race, selling for $5 each, souvenir glass included. Was there a bar in Houston that served these babies? When I called Gallery Furniture, a jolly, instantly recognizable voice directed me to the Westside Tennis Club's Top Spin Sports Bar & Grill (1200 Wilcrest Drive, 713-783-1620).
"Go out there," McIngvale instructed. "I own the place."
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I made my way to the club and then to an upstairs room decorated with Rockets memorabilia. A glass case spanning one long wall contained many, many extremely large men's athletic shoes, all formerly the property of various NBA star athletes.
Bartender Armando Juarez had me fixed up in no time, even if I did have to bring my own R.W. Knudsen Family cranberry-raspberry juice. The drink is a rosy color -- optimism personified, very McIngvale -- and tastes like a raspberry-infused Long Island iced tea.
Mattress Mac's Raspberry Recliner:
1/4 ounce McCormick vodka
1/4 ounce Gilbey's gin
1/4 ounce Ron Rio Virgin
Islands white rum
1/4 ounce gold Tequila de Los Dorados
1/4 ounce Mohawk Triple Sec
Splash of cranberry-raspberry juice
Add the liquor to a tall 14-ounce glass filled with ice cubes, top off with the fruit juice and garnish with a slice of lime. Drink and meditate on the question, Is this a great country or what?