Far from your classic chocolate and vanilla, Black Tap's photo-worthy shakes are piled high with cookies, ice cream sandwiches and cake. And candy, which specialty sweets retailer IT'SUGAR knows all about.
So the two collaborated in mid-August. For the first time, Black Tap's cool libations made their way to the West Coast at a pop-up event at IT'SUGAR's Santa Monica location. The collaboration unveiled a shake never before beheld by the sugar-loving public. It's name? The XL Gummy Shake (photos below).
Extra large is right. The vanilla shake, made towering by an IT'SUGAR giant gummy bear, a rainbow marshmallow lollipop and a mountain of whipped cream, stood about a foot tall. As striking as its height were its colors; multicolored jawbreakers decorated the rim (glued on by frosting, of course), colorful marshmallow charms were sprinkled over the whipped cream and a bright red cherry was perched neatly on top.
Black Tap owner Joe Isidori found inspiration for the shake by being a kid in a candy store.
"I literally spent a day in one of [IT'SUGAR's] New York City stores, dreamt up as many concoctions as I could, sent them a whole bunch of ideas and then we collaborated and came up with this great XL Gummy Shake," Isidori said.
Gummy candies, he added, are his favorite, so he couldn't resist making giant gummy bears the centerpiece of the shake.
At the pop-up, the already novelty store was abuzz with Black Tap employees, including Isidori, as well as Pretty Little Liars star Tammin Sursok and Disney's Dog With a Blog star Francesca Capaldi (see how much she was lovin' the shake in the featured image?). The crew doled out all of its 350 shakes in two hours.
"It's pretty decadent," Hollywood resident Zak Kline, who won a contest to skip the line and try the shake early, said of the dessert. "It's like nothing I've ever had before, and it's delicious. 10 out of 10."
Los Angeles has its share of gourmet milkshakes, but none are as novelty as Black Tap's, IT'SUGAR marketing team member Lauren Fleischer said.
"The reason we wanted to bring this experience to L.A. is because there's no other experience like it," she said. "We're totally over the top, completely unapologetic, and [Black Tap is] the same way.
"They also saw that similarity, and we felt that the two brands together would offer an even more amazing experience for our customers."
Isidori's restaurant has just one New York City location, but he said that could change.
"This is the first time Black Tap is in LA, and I promise you: more is to come," he said.
What did we think of the shakes? Pretty delicious. The vanilla base is perfectly portioned and has a level of sweetness that's just right, and the ice cream tastes like the good stuff. It's not the main attraction, but it's the best part. Save that all for yourself.
As for the candy toppings, you'll especially enjoy the contrast of the crunchy marshmallow pieces with the smooth whipped cream. But unless your stomach is made of steel, you'll need a couple of friends to help you. And napkins. Lots of napkins. Actually, wear something you don't care about.
Here are more photos of the event by Haldane Morris.
PLL star and Black Tap fan Tammin Sursok tries a shake. The actress got her hands dirty behind the counter too; she served shakes to the first 10 people in line.
A man, amused by the size and splendor of his dessert, takes a selfie.
And here's a close-up of dehydrated marshmallow pieces, cascading over the whipped-cream mound.
It takes a village. Several hands are required to decorate the jawbreaker rims, fill the glasses and assemble the toppings, all while keeping the shake in one piece.
Black Tap owner Joe Isidori talks to customers about his creation.