The Top 10 Drinking Songs of All Time
Revelry and music go hand in hand.
Having the best musical selections for an evening of imbibing—be it for your next party, the juke at your favorite watering hole, or your bar band’s set list—is as essential as knowing what hors d’oeuvres to serve.
At the risk of over-intellectualizing the topic, our list was compiled through hours of pseudo-scientific research—the details of which we won’t disclose—among loosely assembled focus groups.
But we will say this: The presence of both a singable chorus and a memorable guitar riff certainly won points. So, as the stars of the cult movie Fubar are apt to say, “Give'r.”
Just remember, Bukowski, drink responsibly. And if you’ve had one too many, don’t crank up the amp and roll tape. You’ll be sorry.
10: “Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers,” ZZ Top
Just how does this Texas trio keep their beards from being infested with froth? Billy Gibbons’ searing blues leads and proto-metal riffing on this song inspires two things: merriment… and wreckin’ shit up. Stay away from the lousy drunks when this one comes on.
9: “Alligator Wine,” Screaming Jay Hawkins
At some point of the evening, lyrics like “Take the blood out of the alligator/Take the left eye of a fish/Take the skin off a frog/And mix it up in a dish” will seem hysterically funny. Don’t let anyone’s sobriety ruin the joke.
8: “Night Train,” Guns N’ Roses
An ode to dirt-cheap wine should be uncorked when nobody present at the festivities can utter anything more insightful than “YEEEOOOWWW!!!” This one is only for people that can hold their rock ‘n’ roll.
7: “Cold Gin,” Kiss
Gin is the devil’s gasoline. Kiss are Knights in Satan’s Service. Get it? Any intellectuals on board should have an ironic chuckle when teetotaler Gene Simmons sings Ace Frehley-penned lines like “It’s cold gin time again/You know it’ll always win.”
6: “Boob Scotch,” Bob Log III
Party games, anyone? This psychotic Arizona bluesman has dreamed up a titillating concoction: one part Scotch, one part ice, and one part nipple. Try to follow: the nipple gets hard, and the scotch takes on a whole new flavor. Generally, this drink is best served once a few glasses of regular spirits glasses of regular spirits have been tossed back.
5: “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer,” John Lee Hooker
Talk about a ready-made chorus! Of course, cynical twerps call it subliminal advertising—and they may have a point. After all, bartenders love it when schnockered customers mindlessly order by repeating the song’s chorus.
4: “Have a Drink on Me,” AC/DC
Written for the memory of Bon Scott, a man who didn’t know when to cut himself off from the bottle (and choked accordingly), this one my seem slightly irresponsible. Nevertheless, it reinforces the concept of generosity. Also, that guitar riff will sure zing ya.
3: “Whiskey in a Jar,” Thin Lizzy
The Irish have no shortage of drinking songs, so it’s appropriate that a revved-up translation of a folk standard be included here. The song actually has less to do with drinking than it does with armed robbery and lust—but it does have one key attribute to a classic drinking song: a chorus written in gibberish.
2: “There’s a Tear in My Beer,” Hank Williams
How does the poor sobbing bastard in the corner make his drink last so long? He’s watering it down with salt water, of course! This and other secrets of alcoholic medication are contained in Williams’ prototypical self-pitying country song. And it’s not all pathos; indeed, perfectly happy people can sing this tune as a sympathetic gesture to the broken-hearted.
1: “Tequila,” The Champs
Who needs words when a two-chord riff and a honkin’ sax melody scream, “Dance, sucka, dance!” This 1950s classic has endured the test of time because it reeks of mischief. Plus, not only is the chorus extremely easy to remember; it doesn’t require that anyone stay in key!