Combine sugar, water, and butter in a large Dutch oven; bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves; stir well, and cool.
Dissolve soda in warm water. Add flour, baking powder, and dissolved soda to cooled spice mixture; mix well.
Shape dough into three 10- inch-long rolls; wrap in waxed paper, and refrigerate 8 days. Dough will be sticky.
Unwrap roll, and cut into 1/4- inch slices. Place cookies on lightly greased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 12 minutes. Cool on wire racks.
Note: For a uniform cookie slice, use a piece of string wrapped around the cookie roll. Wrap the string around the bottom of the roll and criss-cross the ends at the top. Pull string away from roll to slice.
This results in a more uniform cookie slice which doesn't affect the shape of the remaining roll.