St. Patrick’s Day notwithstanding, it’s not as if anyone needs a reasonable excuse to drink too much. The upcoming revelry is certainly a good way to justify any overindulgence, but maybe jaunty Irish tunes aren’t your thing. Many of country’s finest sad songs find their roots in Celtic music, which makes this a fine opportunity some of the genre’s best songs about booze.
Some of these songs are sad, others are a bit more upbeat. Either way, you’ll be raising your glass to country's best tracks, perfect for those times when you need a whiskey river to take your mind. Just get prepared to spend Sunday morning coming down...real hard.
"White Lightning," George Jones
Surely the Irish can appreciate the ingenuity of American bootleggers, and this early George Jones jam is a fine sound track for drinking only the finest backyard hooch. Not to mention the immediate shout-out to Houston in the first damn sentence, at least in this recorded version. Just try not to get hype when The Possum reps H-Town while you’re banging back a few fingers of ’shine. None of that trendy, legal bullshit either.
“I Think I’ll Just Stay Here and Drink,” Merle Haggard
The fact that this song makes as much sense today in the Tinder-rotted world of dating is a testament to Merle Haggard’s enduring philosophy. The next time you’re feeling scorned, just say no to that asshole on the other side of your iPhone and stay on your couch and drink. Just like Merle and the Good Lord intended.
"Whiskey River," Willie Nelson
Well, obviously. Only an idiot would leave Texas’s finest contribution to country music off this list, especially considering that "Whiskey River" is widely regarded as one of the best drinking songs of any genre. Even if you don’t partake in the brown liquor, you know exactly what it means to wash yourself away in a mind-erasing river of booze.
"Friends in Low Places," Garth Brooks
This is the drinking song that will make you furious about Garth Brooks’s stance on online streaming services. The fact that you can’t pull up this most-excellent ode to looking like a country-fried fool at your ex’s fancy new shindig (a situation we’ve all found ourselves in, frankly) on Spotify any time you’ve had enough tequila to make it relevant is a downright dirty shame.
"Family Tradition," Hank Williams Jr.
Hank Williams Jr. has certainly gone off the rails these days – he’s “sober” and prefers to spend his time yelling about the President – but the man sure could write a party song. If you’ve ever seen Bocephus live, you know that the answers to his essential questions in the chorus are really an imperative: Get drunk, get high, get nekkid. (Note: If you get as tore up as Hank is in this video, please call an Uber.)
"Tear In My Beer," Hank Williams Sr.
Perhaps the original purveyor of classic country drinking songs, Hank Williams Jr. is an obvious sound track for being just sad as hell. You might not want to play this song if you feel like you’re teetering on the edge of an emotional breakdown, but it’s perfectly suited for just a little good old-fashioned drunken wallowing.
"Straight Tequila Night," John Anderson
Country’s best drinking songs (especially those by men) don’t generally focus on the perspective of the woman, but this 1992 John Anderson classic is surprisingly feminist. Perhaps more important, it provided an important lesson to dudes who want to bother a broken-hearted young lady while she’s trying to drink her feelings. Take heed, boys.
"Hurtin’ On The Bottle," Margo Price
Margo Price is pretty new to the national country scene, but go on ahead and put this song in your boozing playlist because it’s an ideal addition. Long a songwriter in Nashville, Price perfectly distills (get it?) the necessity of getting blackout drunk post-breakup.
"It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere," Alan Jackson
No matter how cool you think you are, no one can resist wanting to put on a Hawaiian shirt and cowboy hat, pour a margarita and party Jimmy Buffett-style when this song comes on. It’s also a relatively decent way to convince yourself to blow off work and head to the bar at 10 a.m., in case you were ever looking for a reason.
"Chug-a-Lug," Roger Miller
Today’s country acts attempt drinking songs, but they’re painfully boring. The simple formula of booze and a catchy melody means that Roger Miller’s jaunty jam paired with just enough whiskey will definitely make you holler hidey-ho in the most inappropriate of places.