When tackling a monster milkshake at Manny’s Sweet Treats in Mineola, Hector Carvalho, advises starting with the larger bits of cotton candy first.
Then he describes, in detail, how to gently pluck the rainbow-colored ribbons of sugar-coated fruit roll up off the drink without sending an avalanche of whipped cream down onto the table.
There is still a layer of sprinkles to get through, and of course the rock candy and lollipops sticking out from the mountain-high shake, before you can actually drink.
It’s a miracle the thing doesn’t just fall apart.
“We use an extra-cold frosting to coat the rim of the glass, and that helps keep the cotton candy in place,” he says of the new drinks, added to the menu last month. “The density and temperature of the frosting are very important to the architecture of the milkshake.”
If Carvalho sounds more like an engineer than a soda jerk, credit his degree in chemical engineering from Stony Brook.
Manny’s, named after Carvalho’s stepfather, who owns the Portuguese Churrasqueira Bairrada Restaurant down the street, wasn’t originally a shake place. The order-at-the-counter eatery opened last summer serving sandwiches, pastries, waffles, crepes and ice cream. Creative soda floats and hot chocolate, added to the menu later, foreshadowed the ambitious milkshakes, which made their debut in February.
Much like Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer — whose four Manhattan restaurants are credited with starting a zany milkshake craze on social media early last year — Carvalho saw opportunity in using Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to promote the wild shakes he spent years dreaming of.
There is even a standing selfie booth installed opposite the register. One afternoon, a few children dance in front of it, snapping picture after picture. Each photo is sent via text or email to the selfie-snapper or, in this case, to the unsuspecting mother who gave her email to operate the machine and is soon assailed by ping after ping on her cell phone.
Only the promise of towering shakes can lure them back to the table.
Carvalho’s technical training has enabled him to create a milkshake with structural stability.
“Our shakes will last three minutes before falling apart,” he says. He knows because he has timed them.
Each shake is $9.99. Flavors include cereal, death by brownie and peanut butter & jelly. Custom mash-ups might include chocolate chip cookies and Oreos with bits of marshmallow and KitKats jammed in; rainbow shakes with a slab of confetti cake on top; and whole cupcakes on top of thick whipped cream with a pop tart set slightly askew.
It’s enough to give anyone a serious case of brain freeze.
Manny’s Sweet Treats, 156 Jericho Turnpike, Mineola; 516-299-8099, mannyst.com