There is no institution more sacred to the nautical man, the businessman, the sporting man, the scholastic man, the working man, the family man, the medical man – in fact any man, than the cocktail hour.

For some it is truly a ritual with all the trappings of a London tearoom. For others, it is merely the sound of ice hitting the bottom of a glass at precisely the moment the door closes at the end of the day.

For most boaters, the entire cruising life is built around the cocktail hour, or hours as the case may be. A major league vessel consuming a hundred gallons of fuel an hour exists largely to provide the perfect waterfront environment for light food and drink.

There is nothing quite as exhilarating after a day on the water, than a hot shower, clean clothes and a major league cocktail hour. In fact as the boating life captured my soul nearly 20 years ago, I have come to define dinner as something that follows cocktails.

Jack E. Leonard, one of the great stand-up comics of the 20th Century, when asked why he drank – "If I knew when I woke up that was as good as I was going to feel, I wouldn’t get out of bed".

It has been my experience that like boats, porches, patios, decks, balconies, great rooms, game rooms, pool rooms, card rooms, family rooms, gazebos – have at their core a well stocked bar.

Not everyone, of course, subscribes to this doctrine. The bottled water carriers – a relatively new breed of anti-fat, salt, sugar, starch, beef, caffeine, tobacco, alcohol group – believe that if it tastes good or makes you feel good – spit it out! This is the alfalfa sprouts crowd and as we get to know each other better, it won’t be necessary for me to explain my view of alfalfa sprouts.

We only live for a short period of time. Even the new Millennium frowns on institutional cocktail hours for adolescents, and as we age our capacity diminishes. Make hay while the sun shines.