Tomato juice and spices are great for masking poorly made hooch
So how do we get from Bloody Marys to brunch? Farha Ternikar, author of Brunch: A History, makes this key point: "Brunch history is also intertwined with the history of cocktails." And although brunch itself is a term coined in 1895, strangely enough, it seems that the boozy brunch really kicked off during the purportedly dry Prohibition years.
"Though Prohibition affected many, the elite were largely unscathed because of private clubs, home bars, and underground methods of transporting and selling alcohol," Ternikar explains. Mixing helped disguise crappy booze; tomato juice and spices were especially effective. (So is orange juice, but remember, it was still a bit harder to come by in the 1920s unless you were squeezing it yourself.)
Of course, the same wealthy elites who might have sampled Petiot's Bloody Mary at Harry's Bar in Paris may have tried to emulate it at home or at the speakeasy.
Meanwhile, Ternikar notes, brunch -- whether served at home or in a restaurant -- had evolved into a leisurely, decadent meal that often revolved around rich dishes. For elites, this might also include mixed drinks that usually featured vodka or Champagne.