Nobody wants to live in a world where country musicians don’t sing about drinking. Unsurprisingly, songs about whiskey are plentiful in the genre.
This makes sense, as many country songs are about heartache. And whiskey helps, if only for a little while.
Here is our pick of the best country songs about whiskey.
1. “Tennessee Whiskey” by Chris Stapleton
Song Year: 2015
Though David Allen Coe and George Jones had success with “Tennessee Whiskey,” Stapleton’s version has become fairly renowned, even though Jones had a number one hit with it in 1983.
Stapleton also had a number one with it declaring his love for whiskey. He loves it so much that, in his mind, comparing his woman to whiskey is a huge compliment.
2. “Whiskey Bent and Hell Bound” by Hank Williams Jr.
Song Year: 1979
Sometimes a guy just needs to get drunk and listen to country music. That’s all Hank, Jr. wants in this number two country hit from his album of the same name.
Country music lore says Williams wrote it in about ten minutes. The lyrics reveal a man who, left to his own devices, hits the bottle and the town— in the first verse, he admits that when his woman isn’t around, he cuts loose.
3. “Copperhead Road” by Steve Earle
Song Year: 1988
Although “Copperhead Road” comes from an album hailed as Steve Earle’s first rock record, this is still one heck of a country song about whiskey.
The song’s narrator watches his grandfather and father run bootleg whiskey in the Tennessee mountains before his father gets killed. Then, the narrator ships off to Vietnam, and returns to an echo of the family business— selling illegal merchandise.
4. “Jack Daniels” by Miranda Lambert
Song Year: 2001
One of the most authentic voices in country music today wrote this gem at the turn of the century. “Jack Daniels” appeared on Miranda Lambert’s self-titled, self-recorded debut album two years before she signed with Epic Records.
After a visit to Nashville went poorly, Lambert returned to her native Texas, asked her dad to teach her the guitar, and within a year, she was recording this album.
The narrator has given up all hope of finding a man who incapacitates her the way her first love, Jack Daniels, does.
5. “Ain’t Worth the Whiskey” by Cole Swindell
Song Year: 2014
The third single from Cole Swindell’s eponymous debut album hit the charts in late 2014. It tells the tale of a heartbroken man who tries to convince himself that he’s not sad over the loss of a relationship. He’ll drink to this or that, or in sadness or remembrance. But he refuses to drink over the woman.
It’s a sour-grapes tale that would only be more on-the-nose if it was about wine. While it wasn’t well-received by critics, “Ain’t Worth the Whiskey” went to number one.
6. “Rye Whiskey” by Tex Ritter
Song Year: 1936
Tex Ritter started as a law school student, but soon was singing country music on big stages— including Broadway. That led to movies, where he became a singing cowboy and the first of three generations of the Ritter acting dynasty (John Ritter was his son, and Tyler and Jason Ritter are his grandsons).
Ritter sang “Rye Whiskey” in “Song of the Gringo,” his Hollywood film debut. In it, he sings of the three things he needs: red meat, rye whiskey, and cash.
7. “The Whiskey Ain’t Workin’ Anymore” by Travis Tritt and Marty Stuart
Song Year: 1991
Part of the “Hot Young Country” movement, “The Whiskey Ain’t Workin’ Anymore” was a collaboration between Marty Stuart and Travis Tritt for Tritt’s second album, “It’s All About to Change.”
Stuart co-wrote and appeared alongside Tritt on this record about a man mourning his breakup and discovering that he’s been so sad for so long that drinking isn’t even doing it for him. His solution? More whiskey, and perhaps a new love.
8. “Whiskey River” by Willie Nelson
Song Year: 1973
“Whiskey River” is another in a long line of country songs about whiskey focusing on an individual relying on alcohol to assuage their heartbreak. While it’s common enough to be cliche, nothing about Willie Nelson calls for that word.
Though Nelson is a prolific songwriter, this one was written by fellow country singer Johnny Bush, who had a hit with it in 1972. Both versions performed well on the charts, though Nelson’s rose a couple of spots higher.
9. “Cheap Whiskey” by Martina McBride
Song Year: 1992
A different take on lost love, Martina McBride’s cautionary tale about whiskey tells of a man who learns that he couldn’t serve two masters. His love of cheap whiskey interfered with his relationship with a woman who was the other love of his life.
In the song, the man looks back over his life with regret for having chosen the bottle over the woman, and his only recourse is to drink his sadness away.
10. “Drowns the Whiskey” by Jason Aldean and Miranda Lambert
Song Year: 2018
Jason Aldean sings about a man who’s trying to drown his sorrows. Much to his chagrin, he finds out that he possibly has a defective bottle on his hands. Why? Well, the memory of his girl is drowning the whiskey instead of the other way around.
Lambert’s backing vocals on the chorus lend an aching to the song that works. Alongside the crying steel guitar, it makes for a sad listen.
11. “C.C. Waterback” by Merle Haggard and George Jones
Song Year: 1982
From an album of duets between outlaw country icons Merle Haggard and George Jones, “C.C. Waterback” tells of the aftermath of a raucous party at Jones’ house. The drink of the evening was shots of Canadian Club whiskey with a water chaser, or a C.C. Waterback.
As the drinking goes on, the woman Haggard brings ends up with Jones once Haggard passes out. Since the two men remained friends, there’s a good chance this is all fiction, but it’s still a fun song.
12. “Whiskey and You” by Darius Rucker
Song Year: 2010
By his own estimation, Darius Rucker came closest to replicating the work of Haggard and Jones on this track from his second album, “Charleston, SC 1966.” The song’s lyrics, co-written by Rucker, certainly hew that way.
The gist of the song is the narrator finds himself drawn back to the girl who broke his heart and a bottle of whiskey. Maybe he doesn’t have the healthiest relationship with either, but it makes for a good country song.
13. “Whiskey Girl” by Toby Keith
Song Year: 2004
Toby Keith isn’t a master of subtlety. A case in point is his 2003 album “Shock'n Y'all,” which had “Whiskey Girl” as its second track. It went on to become one of Keith’s 20 number-one hits.
It sings the praises of a woman who seems to be one of the guys— rough-and-tumble with at least one tattoo, can drive a stick-shift, and thinks beer is “bush league.” Above all, she drinks whiskey with the best of them, and would rather have that over flowers or margaritas.
14. “Whiskey, Whiskey” by Kris Kristofferson
Song Year: 1979
Although 1970s country singer Nat Stuckey originally recorded “Whiskey, Whiskey” in 1970, Kris Kristopherson made a soulful version that he eventually performed as a duet with Rita Coolidge.
The song, like so many others, tells of a man whose sorrow drives him to a bottle. His old friend to whom he’s curling up again now that his heart is broken. This song is probably the only one about whiskey that compares the elixir to milk— in this case, of mercy.
15. “Whiskey If You Were a Woman” by Highway 101
Song Year: 1987
Highway 101’s second-ever single made it all the way to number two. The narrator tells of her frustration with her man’s incorrigible drinking.
She lays it out clearly— whiskey is taking her man away. If it were a woman, she’d fight it, or at least be able to compete.
Saddest of all, she admits to herself that she can’t even appeal to its conscience because whiskey doesn’t have feelings.
16. “Drink A Little Whiskey Down” by Luke Bryan
Song Year: 2021
Luke Bryan insists he doesn’t miss his lost love in “Drink a Little Whiskey Down,” for the most part. Still, Bryan admits that, maybe now and then, he does.
Rather than wallow in sadness, he chooses to drink whiskey with friends— people he presumably pulled back from when he was in a relationship— and try to have a good time.
When he sometimes has flashes of his lost love, he remembers to have a whiskey at hand to help him through his memories.
17. “Whiskey to Wine” by Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood
Song Year: 2016
As perhaps the most royal of country royalty, Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood bring a ton of clout to the stage when they perform together, and “Whiskey to Wine” furthers that legacy.
The song tells of two former lovers. Both have moved on to better relationships but occasionally ache for the days of old. The implication is that when they were together, they were whiskey— hard and gritty— while their new loves are like wine— more refined.
18. “Jack Daniel’s” by Eric Church
Song Year: 2011
Far from being a broken-heart, drink-to-forget song, Eric Church sings “Jack Daniels” as a man who knows what’s in that bottle will show him a good time and leave him hungover and piecing the night together the next morning.
The song snagged Church his own batch of Jack Daniel’s whiskey.
19. “Whiskey’s Gone” by Zac Brown Band
Song Year: 2010
“Whiskey’s Gone” is an upbeat charmer of a song until you pay attention to the lyrics. The narrator has received an ultimatum from his mate, and true to country music form, he’s opted for the whiskey over the woman.
Sadly, though, the bottle’s empty, and the track tells of his quest for more and more. Despite being kicked out of a bar and presumably getting into a fight, he still thinks he can get his girl back.
Best Country Songs About Whiskey, Final Thoughts
These country songs about whiskey show that the drink is an integral part of the genre. While it’s often sung of as a soother of broken hearts, that’s not its only function. No matter why the people in these songs choose to drink, they all know that for many of life’s questions, whiskey seems like a good answer, even when it isn’t.