Given that T-Pain’s biggest hit song is “Buy U A Drank,” it’s not surprising that he has a favorite drink himself. What is surprising is how simple it is to make.
“It’s literally just straight tequila—not going to lie,” he admits. “I like my drinks to not be work. If this just came already chilled, I’d probably just drink it out the bottle.” Though it’s not complicated, it can’t be made with just any tequila or served in just any glass. The Grammy Award-winning musician has specific requirements for every aspect of his signature beverage. He typically makes it after his kids are settled in for the night, when he retires to the music and podcasting studio in the basement of his Atlanta home. “It’s my chill-out thing,” he says. “It makes me so happy.”
T-Pain will soon let the world know all of his thoughts on the subject of cocktails with the release of his book Can I Mix You a Drink?, which he wrote with top bartender Maxwell Britten.
Hailing from Tallahassee, Florida, T-Pain says beer was the booze of choice when he first began drinking. “Then I started going on the road and somebody introduced me to Champagne,” he explains. “I was like, oh, this is like beer times a thousand. It’s great.’” Since then, his interest in and love for liquor has only grown. “I came to a point where I was like, I’m just going to try it all,” he says, “see what happens.”
Read on to find out how T-Pain prepares his tequila and how he likes to “pour one up, pour one out.”
T-Pain is a regular Twitch streamer and started a Tequila Tuesdays segment last year. He and his road manager would pick out a random bottle of the spirit at a liquor store and rate it live. (“That’s a cool looking bottle, let’s see if it’s terrible!”) One night in May 2020, they happened to choose Cincoro Reposado. “I don’t think I’ve switched since then,” he says. T-Pain lists the tequila’s cinnamon notes as the main reason why he loves it. “Anything that makes alcohol bearable and not taste like pure poison, I’m all for it,” he says. He now only drinks reposado tequila and avoids blanco and añejo varieties. “It’s like if you asked for an Old-Fashioned and they give you a Manhattan,” he says. “It’s like, what the fuck did you just get me?”
The record producer influences not only music trends. “Every time I get a new forever drink,” T-Pain says, “the whole music industry just goes straight to that.” It doesn’t hurt that he has already mentioned Cincoro in a few songs. “We’re going to jack that price up real nice,” he jokes, “I should buy some stock in it.”
How T-Pain drinks his tequila is arguably as important as what he drinks. His “fancy cup”—a beer glass emblazoned with the word (you guessed it) “fancy”—is his go-to glass. Purchased at a novelty store in Midtown Atlanta that sells “dad-joke books and shit,” it was relegated to a kitchen cabinet after he had one beer in it that “tasted like fermented spit.” Fairly recently, he decided to break out the glass for his reposado after he ran out of plastic cups.
T-Pain owns an ice machine that produces big sheets of square ice. He carves a few pieces of ice and fills his special glass to his preferred level. “It has to get right under the word ‘fancy’ and then the tequila goes right to the top of the word,” he explains. “You have to have some kind of measurement to be like hey, all right, you’re getting real below that fancy there. You need to maybe water up a bit.’”
THE COCKTAIL OPTION
On the rare occasion that T-Pain makes a cocktail, he’ll mix up a Butterscotch, which his wife Amber created. It features his beloved Cincoro Reposado and butterscotch schnapps and is topped with cream soda, a small dollop of whipped cream and an apple slice. Butterscotch schnapps also appears in his book in a creation called the Fly Away, created by Maxwell Britten that in addition contains Jamaican rum, lemon juice, orange-flower water and cherry Coke. “I’m not a savory kind of drinker,” he says.
In our column, House Drink, we talk to people about their favorite cocktails to make for themselves at home.
Illustrations by Olivia McGiff