In a 4-quart Dutch oven, combine cider and honey. Add orange slices. For spice bag, place cinnamon, fresh ginger, allspice, cloves and bay leaf, if you like, in the center of a double-thick, 8- to 10-inch square of 100-percent-cotton cheesecloth. Tie closed with a clean string. Add spice bag to the saucepan with cider mixture. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Remove orange slices and spice bag; discard. If you like, strain mixture through a fine mesh sieve*. Use in the following party drinks. Makes about 8 cups base.