Combine cranberry juice, sugar, lemon juice, and water in a 4-quart saucepan or Dutch oven.
For spice bag, tie lemon peel, cinnamon, and cloves in a 6-inch square of 100 percent cotton cheesecloth. Add spice bag to saucepan. Bring just to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Discard spice bag. Add bourbon, rum, or orange juice.
Transfer to a heatproof serving carafe or pot. Serve with a lemon peel strip in each cup, if desired. Makes about 12 (6-ounce) servings.
The rich scent of spices will fill the air if, after cooking, you leave the saucepan uncovered for a minute or two before transferring the drink to a carafe for serving.