As I sit here by our new breakfast table, admiring the view of Signal Hill, the fragrant aroma of an adobo is wafting in from the kitchen. I woke up this morning craving this Philippine dish that blends a variety of spices, meats and other ingredients to create a wonderfully flavored stew. Another blog friend introduced me to it when she sent me The Little Adobo Book from her native Manilla a long time ago.

Back then I experimented with a couple of recipes, but it has been forever since I’ve last tried any of them, so over morning coffee I paged through the book looking for a recipe. There were so many delicious-sounding versions to choose from; fish in coconut cream, duck adobo, spicy chicken adobo, one with pineapple and pork. I finally settled on adobong pang-inumam or drinker’s adobo. So named, I assume, for the generous amount of gin that is added to the stew.


It was not the gin that was calling out to me though, it was the combination of vinegar, black pepper corns, garlic, onion, fish sauce, soy sauce, bay leaves and fresh chilies that impressed, and had me feel like dinner at breakfast. After a quick trip to a local weekend market to look for some home items we stopped by a grocer to pick up some ingredients and headed home to start preparing for tonight’s meal.

To cook a drinker’s adobo for two you’ll need:

1 tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon garlic, sliced
½ white onion sliced
500g meat (I used pork)
1.5 tablespoons vinegar
½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1.5 red chilies (or more if you like)
¼ cup gin
¼ cup soy sauce
2 cups stock (I used vegetable and no I did not make it I bought it)
2 bay leaves


Heat the oil in a saucepan and fry the garlic and onions until fragrant. Add the meat and brown while stir-frying. When the meat has been browned, add the vinegar, don’t stir until it has released its acidic odor. Add the pepper, followed by the fish sauce, chili, gin, soy sauce, stock and bay leaves. Bring the dish to a simmer and cover, leaving it to simmer and cook until the meat is tender.

I prepared the adobo, removed it from the heat and left covered for several hours before serving. It was only about 2PM when I prepared it and we spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out on the beach, soaking up the sun and dipping in the icy Atlantic.

I heated it up quickly for dinner and served it on a bed of rice noodles. I’m sure rice would have been more appropriate, but we are waiting for pots to arrive, so I had to make do with something else. It worked out quite well. The dish turned out flavorful and satisfying, washing it down with refreshing gin and rum drinks Alexander mixed.