The Power(s) of Food-Inspired Cocktails

Cranston bartender Angela Lentz shares her cocktail philosophy


When she’s not scheduling bands or developing recipes, Vermont transplant Angela Lentz is finding her zen with Vinyasa yoga. Ask her to whip you up a cocktail any Tuesday through Saturday.

What drew you to this profession?
I fell in love with the sense of community; bars and churches are gathering places for people. I have a passion for what I do. As the bar manager, I have a huge amount of unlimited creative cocktail freedom here. I’ve been bartending [for] over ten years; I know a thing or two about cocktails.

What is Powers Pub?
It’s a very special place. My ideal bar should be an extension of your home; Powers is like that. It’s a warm, inviting loungy place. We have a lot of regulars here and you’ll always meet a friendly person. We’re a pretty strong community here. There’s an unusual mix of people in Pawtuxet Village who are really into the cocktails and music scene. The first time I walked into Powers, I became enveloped. Immediately something I wanted to devote everything to it. The vibe in here is really great.

Why Powers?
It’s named after the owner, Jen Powers.

What’s on tap?
We serve a lot of local non-commercial craft beer here; I try to feature beers that you see in every single bar like Harpoon and Blue Moon. This month you’ll find Six Point Seasonal and whatever Revival has cooking up.

What’s the one cocktail you must try?
The Red & Black – muddled strawberries, peppercorn infused agave, silver tequila and limes served on the rocks. I’m always infusing something here.

What’s your cocktail philosophy?
Booze is like food; you need to gauge what flavors blend together best. I create a lot of infused spirits and I mess around with syrups and more unusual ingredients. Every week I come up with new cocktail specials that go along with the pizza special we have – something funky that pushes people’s boundaries, but is still tasty and delicious. The cocktail world is evolving; cocktails with fresher ingredients are emerging. Simpler is better; fewer ingredients make a better drink.

What is your signature drink?
My signature is being completely unpredictable. I really like it when people come in and say, “make me whatever.” It’s a really good way for me to try out a few new recipes I’ve been percolating. It’s good to get that immediate feedback. I like when people are openminded and they trust me. This week, my friend Jack came in and wanted a martini that was “chillax.” I whipped up a Jax Chillax – cucumber vodka, Drambuie, lemons and green tea. It’s a light and unusual combination of ingredients that work really nicely.

What inspires you?
Food. A lot of times I’m inspired by what I’m cooking or when wandering aimlessly in the grocery store. Everything can be made into a delicious cocktail.

What creative cocktails will you be serving St. Patty’s Day?
Nothing green. There will not be any green cocktails here at all! It’s stupid. Definitely something with a lot of whiskey, honey and lemon.

What is the worst ingredient to work with?
Coconut rum. Coconut is one of those flavors that it is extremely fake and overpowering. I can work with coconut nectar or water, but it’s always going to taste like some Barbie doll martini. Nothing good ever comes from coconut rum. Ever.

What can people expect at Powers?
Expect more from your bar experience. I want people to expect more from servers and their going out experiences. I think people are too complacent because there is a lot of lousy service out there and poorly run businesses, especially in Providence where bars are busy trying to be hot before they turn cold. Those bars are lacking a community vibe. Powers Pub 27 Aborn Street, Cranston 714-0655.