In a large bowl, beat butter, brown sugar, molasses, water and orange zest with an electric mixer or by hand until smooth. In another large bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, salt and cloves.
Add the flour mixture to the molasses mixture, stirring by hand just until you have a soft dough. Divide the dough in half, shape each piece into a disc, wrap in plastic and let sit for half an hour, refrigerate for a few days, or freeze.
When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350°F. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out about 1/8” thick. Cut out with cookie cutters and place about an inch apart on a parchment-lined sheet.
Bake for 12–15 minutes, until set and slightly darker golden around the edges. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.