After whiskey, tequila just might be the preferred spirit of country singers. The liquor shows up in song after song about late nights, warm memories and decisions both good and bad. When a country song wants to party, it usually enlists the help of tequila.
There are dozens and dozens of songs on the topic of tequila. Some of them are perfect for the party, and some of them are about what happens in the aftermath; either way, these 10 stand out as the best of the bunch.
There's a sub-genre of tequila songs wherein the narrator pretends to be singing about being in love, but really, they're actually singing about being in love with tequila. Within that sub-genre, “Tequila Again” is one of the best. It’s brand-new (from Brothers Osborne's 2018 album Port Saint Joe), deceptively sweet and an instant classic.
Remember what we said about "Tequlia Again"? “Jose Cuervo” is another love song in that sub-genre, where the object of West’s affection is Jose itself. “Jose Cuervo, you are a friend of mine,” she sings in the chorus. “I like to drink you with a little salt and lime.” Plenty of songs are about, in a loose sense, loving tequila, but West deserves accolades for giving listeners a song that tells the drink directly how she feels (although, given the rest of the song’s lyrics, it’s pretty clear that the reason for those feelings is that she's still inebriated from the night before).
Country music’s obsession with tequila goes way back … at least to 1955, when Reeves released “Drinking Tequila.” Reeves’ take on tequila has all the staples of a great drinking song: a trip to Juarez, a night dancing with a beautiful stranger and a killer hangover. The lyrics even contain a restaurant recommendation (“If down in Juarez you happen to be / The Cafe El Gusto’s the place you should be”), so this classic tequila song also doubles as a Yelp review.
Jackson’s “Mexico, Tequila and Me” is an upbeat, high-energy song about escaping the drudgery of daily life, hopping in a truck and driving out of the country in search for higher spirits and … well, just plain spirits. The song occupies a nice middle space that tequila songs don’t usually inhabit: The narrator just wants a long weekend away from his daily life. As he sings in the chorus, “I need a little time to vegetate my mind, escape from my reality / Just Mexico, tequila and me.”
Dan + Shay’s “Tequila” is for anyone who (thanks to a broken heart) has that one song they can no longer listen to or that one drink they can no longer stand. “I can drink whiskey and red wine / Champagne all night / Little Scotch on the rocks, and I’m fine,” they sing. “But when I taste tequila, baby, I still see ya.” Plenty of tequila songs are about forgetting, but in this breakup song, it’s all about the power of memory.
Sure, on the one hand, “Tequila Sheila” likely exists as a song because the songwriters realized that the drink and the name rhyme. But on the other hand, Bare manages to deliver a fully realized narrative out of that rhyme, singing a detailed love story about a drunken tryst south of the Texas-Mexico border that (spoiler alert!) ends with our tough-guy narrator donning Sheila’s red dress to escape the authorities. If it sounds like an odd story, here’s a bit of trivia that might help explain the song: Shel Silverstein was one of its co-writers.
“You and Tequila” is a heartbroken song about the way that love and tequila can lead to bad decisions. But Chesney teaming up with Grace Potter for this song was not a bad decisions; the two of them on this song are as good together as tequila and lime. “You and Tequila” is tailor-made for listening to when you’re a little drunk, a little sad and ready to feel a little bit bad for yourself. “One is one too many,” goes the last line of the chorus. “One more is never enough.”
If you’ve ever performed at karaoke night with the assistance of a little Jose, this song is for you. The tune starts with the recently dumped narrator on “a mission to drown her memory,” but ends with singing, dancing and buying “a round for the whole damn place” ... and at 10 rounds of Jose Cuervo in, the narrator admits that he “lost count and started counting again.” It’s a song that’s great for your mood and terrible for your liver and / or wallet.
The hook at the end of the chorus of “One Tequila” just might be the best-known line in drunk-on-tequila lore. Here it is, in all its simple glory: “Yeah, it’s one tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor.” Clearly, “One Tequila” is a pure party song, one that escalates with each shot of tequila the narrator takes. It’s fun, catchy and probably the song you’ll be humming all night.
"How Much Tequila (Did I Drink Last Night?)"Steve Goodman
Props to Goodman: For all the songs out there about tequila, “How Much Tequila (Did I Drink Last Night?)” is the only one that really dives into the details of the inevitable post-tequila hangover. “My head is four or five times its normal size / And I got this big old cactus stuck between my eyes,” Goodman (accurately) explains. Goodman is funny and (grossly) detailed in this post-drinking song, which is peppered with great lines such as, “I drank so much my hair got drunk.” It lands on this list for many reasons, but we’re putting it at the end for one specific reason: After songs about drinking, it’s only honest to end with one about hangovers.