Alcohol is the most commonly abused legal substance and alcoholism is a serious public health problem. It is a leading cause of preventable death in the world. The cellular and molecular mechanisms of alcohol reward and addiction are still not well understood. Emerging evidence indicates that unlike other drugs of abuse, such as nicotine, cocaine, or opioids, alcohol targets numerous channel proteins, receptor molecules, and signaling pathways in the brain. Previously, research has identified brain nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs), a heterogeneous family of pentameric ligand-gated cation channels expressed in the mammalian brain, as critical molecular targets for alcohol abuse and dependence. Genetic variations encoding nAChR subunits have been shown to increase the vulnerability to develop alcohol dependence. Here, we review recent insights into the rewarding effects of alcohol, as they pertain to different nAChR subtypes, associated signaling molecules, and pathways that contribute to the molecular mechanisms of alcoholism and/or comorbid brain disorders. Understanding these cellular changes and molecular underpinnings may be useful for the advancement of brain nicotinic-cholinergic mechanisms, and will lead to a better translational and therapeutic outcome for alcoholism and/or comorbid conditions.