Adobo con pimienta is a dry spice blend, not to be confused with the chiles in adobo found in many grocery stores. Adobo con pimienta refers to the blend of spices (much in the same way that Italian Seasoning refers to general combinations of a few spices) and not to any sort of manufacturer. Therefore, there are many brands available such as Goya, McCormick, Bohio and so on and so forth. In my experience, this is a very easy ingredient to find. Here in Colorado, I can find at least one brand in the Latin and Hispanic section of almost every grocery store, even outside Denver. Many also carry it in the spices and seasonings sections. If worst comes to worst, any Spanish mercado should have it. It also, of course, is available online.
Sour oranges or bitter oranges are a type of citrus grown globally. They are often used in Hispanic and some Mediterranean cooking but in America are more commonly found in marmalade. Sour orange is the key flavor of Cuban mojo sauce- you can’t make it without it.
Because English is such an endlessly fun language to use, here’s something to keep in mind: while sour oranges and bitter oranges are the same, orange bitters (like those you would find bottled in a liquor store) are not. Don’t try to use these cocktail bitters in a recipe that calls for sour orange / bitter orange. It’s not going to work.
If you live in a place that produces a lot of citrus fruits you may be able to find it in the grocery store. I have had exactly zero luck finding fresh ones in Colorado. However, you can often find bottles of sour orange marinade in the Hispanic section of your grocery store or in almost any Spanish market. Check the ingredients- they can vary widely but your best bet will be any one whose first ingredient is actually sour orange juice. The best one I can find around here (although I admit to not being totally married to it) actually has grapefruit as its first ingredient. If you absolutely can’t find any, you can make a reasonable substitute out of equal parts orange juice and lime juice.
Of all Cuban specialty items, Vino Seco is the most specific and potentially frustrating to locate. Vino seco is a salty, dry golden cooking wine. Ask any Cuban grandmother- there is no substitute for this specific flavor. Could you use white wine? Sure. But if you’re really looking for that edge of Cuban flavor, do yourself a favor and hunt down vino seco…
…which is easier said than done. Do you live in Miami or Tampa? Congratulations! It’s probably everywhere you go. Do you live in New York or Chicago or any other large city with a sizable Cuban population? Should be within the realm of possibility in the right area. For the rest of us it can be something of an adventure. Joseph and I spent a whole day once trying every idea we could to get our hands on it locally- mercados, wine stores, specialty shops and it was nowhere. We ended up finding it entirely on accident a few months later at a mercado we hadn’t been to before. But for those of you who aren’t insane people and have embraced the fact that we live in the future- it’s definitely available online. Just make sure you’re not getting vino seco blanco; that’s a white wine and still not what you’re looking for.