Since the work of Kubota in the late 1960s, it has been known that certain Gauss sum twisted (multiple) Dirichlet series are closely
connected to a theory of automorphic functions on metaplectic covering groups. The representation theory of such covering groups was
then initiated by Kazhdan and Patterson in the 1980s, who emphasized the role of a certain non-uniqueness of Whitattaker functionals.
Motivated on the one hand by the recent theory of Weyl group multiple Dirichlet series, and on the other by the so-called “quantum”
geometric Langlands correspondence, we explain how to connect the representation theory of metaplectic covers of $p$-adic groups to
an object of rather disparate origin, namely a quantum group at a root of unity. This gives us a new point of view on the non-uniqueness
of Whittaker functionals and leads, among other things, to a Casselman–Shalika type formula expressed in terms of (Gauss sum) twists of
“$q$”-Littlewood–Richardson coefficients, objects of some combinatorial interest.