Spiced Simple Syrup

3 whole cloves
2 star anise
½ teaspoon whole allspice berries
½ cup granulated sugar
½ vanilla bean, split and scraped, or ⅛ teaspoon vanilla extract

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, toast the cloves, star anise, and allspice until dark brown and fragrant. Add sugar, vanilla bean, and ½ cup of water; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 8 minutes. Let the mixture cool to room temperature, then pass through a fine-mesh strainer. Set aside until needed; this syrup can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to one month.