Egg whites lend a light airy texture to cocktails. They also create a frothy head on top of the drink. Some drink recipes specify dropping bitters onto this froth (Pisco Sour).
Always shake drinks that have egg whites as an ingredient. I usually use ice cubes as the ice needs some mass to break up and incorporate the egg white into the drink. Shake hard and long - for some drinks up to a five minute shake is specified (Ramos Gin Fizz).
Another technique is called the dry shake. If you are worried about too much dilution during a multi-minute shake, first shake without ice to break up the whites. You can also throw the spring from a Hawthorne strainer into the shaker to further agitate the contents during the dry shake. After the dry shake, fill the shaker with ice and proceed with a second shake.
When a recipe calls for an egg white you should use the following size egg depending on where you live:
If a recipe calls for particular amount of egg white (say 2 tsp) and you have to measure it out, beat the whites gently for 10 seconds or so to loosen it up. This will make it easier to measure.
To easily separate the egg white from the yolk, crack the egg in half and pour the yolk between the shell halves as the egg white drops into a small bowl or ramekin. Don't drop directly into the cocktail shaker as you want to make sure the egg is fresh or you will have to toss your drink.
Egg whites in rare cases contain salmonella which can cause food poisoning. Also some people will have an allergic reaction. You can use pasteurized egg whites that come in a carton such as Egg Beaters 100% Egg Whites. These products work just fine in place of the white from an actual egg as long as you have a 100% egg white product.
There is such a thing as egg white powder but it is not suitable for drinks as it tends to clump.
So do you use whites from eggs you crack open or the pasteurized stuff in the carton? Let us know in the comments below.