The 20 best drinking songs of all time

Raise a glass to the greatest booze-related tunes to ever be recorded



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Next to sex, love and heartache, no subject matter has been a greater muse to musicians than booze. Drown your sorrows, say "cheers" or hoof tequila shots to our countdown of the best drinking songs ever made.

Did we miss out your favourite boozing banger? Tweet us at @TimeOutMusic.

Count down our 20 favourite drinking songs

  • © Frecshwill

    'Cigarettes & Alcohol' – Oasis

    God, remember the world-conquering, chest-puffing awesomeness of Oasis? What the hell happened? To the songwriting, to Liam’s voice? Oh, right: cigarettes and alcohol (and other vices). Brent DiCrescenzo

  • 'Drunk Girls' – LCD Soundsystem

    Is ‘Drunk Girls’ LCD Soundsystem’s finest hour? No, of course not. But does it feel like a night of reckless boozing in New York City? Absolutely. James Murphy himself has described the 2010 single as ‘dumb’. But, he added, ‘I like dumb, short stuff.’ More reasons to dig ‘Drunk Girls’? The wince-inducing video, codirected by Spike Jonze, shows Murphy and the LCD crew being manhandled by malevolent pandas. Dumb ’n’
    short 4 evah. Sophie Harris

  • © James Pawlish

    'Cheap Beer' – Fidlar

    ‘Beer’s always better with a bag around it,’ the skater wasteoids in Fidlar (an acronym for: ‘Fuck It, Dawg, Life’s a Risk.’ Yes, really) proclaim over polluted waves of crust-surf guitar in this 2013 burner. ‘I! Drink! Cheap! Beer! So! What! Fuck! You!’ shouts the chorus. Gitta respect a band whose entire raison d’etre is scoring shitty brews via tour riders. Would you really rather listen to Animal Collective, hippy?  Brent DiCrescenzo

  • © Mark Kent

    'Milk and Alcohol' – Dr Feelgood

    ‘The Big Lebowski’ may have cornered the market for White Russian references in pop culture, but this rhythmical chugger from bluesy Canvey Island crew Dr Feelgood gives the delights of dairy its sonic dues. Written by Nick Lowe (after a night spent drinking Kahlua and watching John Lee Hooker perform), its seedy stomp and heavy riffing positively ooze the illicit joys of a night on the town. Warning: may not be suitable for the lactose
    intolerant. Oliver Keens

  • 'Bank Holiday' – Blur

    As an American, the closest thing I have to a bank holiday is Presidents Day, which is hardly a rousing cause for shouting ‘Prost!’ But this 1994 Britpop punk song gave me a snapshot of British binge culture in one minute, 42 seconds. ‘Bank holiday comes with six pack of beer! Then it’s back to work! Ay! Ay! Ay!’ Damon Albarn barks in a hops-soaked slur. Funny how Blur and Oasis fans fought: they all wanted a drink. Brent DiCrescenzo

  • © Ross Beckley

    'One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer' – George Thorogood

    This drinkin’ blues song was popularised by John Lee Hooker with his 1966 cover, but Thorogood took it to a whole new level of bitching and moaning in his 1977 version, borrowing another of Hooker’s songs, ‘House Rent Boogie,’ to serve as a backstory to explain the sorry singer’s situation. Someone please give the man his drinks and shut him up already. Kate Wertheimer

  • 'Happy Hour' – The Housemartins

    Is this the chirpiest drinking song on our list? We’re going to say yes, based on its jangly Smiths-esque guitars, 100 percent-proof singalongability, and the fact that it’s officially impossible to watch the video without a smile on your face. Set in a proper British boozer, the vid features a sweetly awkward dance routine and Claymation. Keen-eyed viewers will notice that The Housemartins’ bassist is a very young Norman Cook, aka Fatboy Slim. Sophie Harris

  • 'Too Drunk To Fuck' – Dead Kennedys

    Hey, it’s happened to the best of us. This surfy 1981 single was the fourth from Jello Biafra’s California punks. Although the song reached Number 36 in the UK singles chart, it was often banned or censored, leading the Kennedys to supply a sticker for record shops reading ‘Caution: You are the victim of yet another stodgy retailer afraid to warp your mind by revealing the title of this record’. Nice touch, Biafra. Kate Wertheimer

  • © William P Gottlieb

    'One Mint Julep' – Louis Prima

    Fleeting happiness in the haze of a drunken hour: many songs have trodden this path, but in the words of this jazz-pop standard, ‘One mint julep / Was the start of it all.’ Originally a doo-wop hit for The Clovers, the tune tells of stealing an intoxicated kiss from a woman after one sweet, minty cocktail… only to get hitched and end up confused, hungover and the father of six kids. Quite the tipple. Louis Prima’s unmistakably comic tone gives his version the edge over the rest. Oliver Keens

  • © Roland Godefroy

    'Lilac Wine' – Nina Simone

    Originally penned in 1950 for a theatre revue, ‘Lilac Wine’ has been covered by such greats as Eartha Kitt, Jeff Buckley and, er, Miley Cyrus. But only the High Priestess of Soul is able to give this moody ode to infatuation the drama and chill its lyrics and melody beg for in her 1966 interpretation; her voice prowls around the song’s deliciously dark lyrics like a cat, and for the listener, intoxication is inevitable. Sophie Harris

  • 'Drunk in Love' (feat. Jay Z) – Beyoncé

    Yes, ostensibly it’s a love song – but c’mon, Beyoncé was likely deep in her cups last year when she blurted the non sequitur hashtag ‘Surfbordt!’ Ditto for Jay Z, who could not have been sober when he wrote, ‘Your breastesses is my breakfast.’ I think he stole that from Bukowski? Brent DiCrescenzo

  • 'Red Red Wine' – Tony Tribe

    Boozing isn’t always about cheap beer or watered-down whisky at a dive bar. Sometimes you just want to lose yourself in a vat of vino, as this downbeat reggae number reminds us. Written by Neil Diamond in 1968 and covered by Tony Tribe a year later, before pop-reggae band UB40 nicked the glory by covering it in the ’80s, ‘Red Red Wine’ is the antidote prescribed for a serious case of the lovesick blues. Tristan Parker

  • 'Swimming Pools (Drank)' – Kendrick Lamar

    Kendrick Lamar’s chorus chant – ‘Pour up. Drank! Head shot. Drank!’ – has become an anthem for US frat houses – which is hilarious, ‘Swimming Pools’ verses thoughtfully detail addiction and insecurity. Lamar embodies this dichotomy of introspection and mindless raging himself: he goes howling mad on stage, while on record he muses as if into a diary. Brent DiCrescenzo

  • 'Born Slippy' – Underworld

    Lyrically, you could dismiss ‘Born Slippy’ as a lout’s anthem: ‘Shouting lager, lager, lager, lager,’ goes its beery chorus. But this 1995 hit, which features in the movie ‘Trainspotting’, goes far deeper. ‘Born Slippy’ distills a clubber’s night out into five minutes, starting with a slow, pretty synth refrain, building to pounding tech-house beats, and then collapsing back into synthy stillness – a blissful, melancholic brainfuck. Sophie Harris

  • © Sean Rowe

    'Sally MacLennane' – The Pogues

    Is there a pairing more perfect than drinking and traditional Irish music? Shane MacGowan’s probably spent a good 80 per cent of his life in pubs, hence this touching, rollicking tribute to ‘the greatest little boozer’. And the Sally of the title? She’s a delicious Irish stout. James Manning

  • 'Alabama Song (Whisky Bar)' – The Doors

    The lyrics to this song were originally published as a poem in German Marxist playwright Bertolt Brecht’s 1927 collection ‘Hauspostille’. Set to music by Kurt Weill, it was recorded by The Doors in 1966 (perhaps due to Jim Morrison’s affinity for peculiar poetry) with a carnivalesque sound that perfectly illustrates what it’s like to be smashed and along for the ride. Kate Wertheimer

  • © Harry Potts

    'Whiskey in the Jar' – Thin Lizzy

    The dual-guitar riff and Phil Lynott's passionate croaking made it a rock classic, but this song has deeper roots. Remember what we said about drinking and traditional Irish music? Popularised by The Dubliners, ‘Whiskey in the Jar’ is more 1700s than ’70s: it's an old folk song about a daring highwayman dobbed in by his girlfriend while sleeping off a whiskey binge. There’s not a man alive who can’t relate to that. James Manning

  • 'Gin & Juice' – Snoop Dogg

    The first rap song to provide high school parties with a cocktail recipe right in the title. Well, juice can be expensive. But ‘Gin & Lemonade’ just doesn’t have the same mellifluousness. On a side note, when’s the last time you heard someone refer to weed as ‘indo’? 1994? Brent DiCrescenzo

  • 'Tipsy' – J-Kwon

    An infectious hip hop celebration of getting buzzed, ‘Tipsy’ has been setting off parties ever since it dropped in 2004. St Louis rapper J-Kwon may have been a fresh-faced 17-year-old when he released this dancefloor classic (public service reminder: teen drinking is very bad!), but he proved wise beyond his years to follow hip hop’s golden rule: club + alcohol = success. Michael Chen

  • 'Tequila!' – The Champs

    This two-minute instrumental – an ode to that magical elixir which needs no wordy introduction – was recorded in 1958 by The Champs. The song was written by Danny Flores (the voice behind the three mischievous ‘tequila’s spoken throughout), who’s also responsible for the tune’s trademark ‘dirty sax’ solo. There’s not much more to say, except that the song gets us dancing even quicker than actual tequila does. Kate Wertheimer

© Frecshwill

'Cigarettes & Alcohol' – Oasis

God, remember the world-conquering, chest-puffing awesomeness of Oasis? What the hell happened? To the songwriting, to Liam’s voice? Oh, right: cigarettes and alcohol (and other vices). Brent DiCrescenzo

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