Aye you can make what's called a 'potion'. You can use some (cheap?) vodka and soak the spices in that for several days, then carefully pour it into your bottling bucket or keg. I think Randy Mosher talks about this in "Radical Brewing". It's worth checking out and should give more consistency.
I've had great luck adding mine to the boil at flame out but everyone's results vary.
Remember, 'cold' is a flavor
Cooking with beer? Been doing it for years.
Add it to the food? I'll have to try it sometime.
He who has tasted sailing will walk the earth with his head turned into the wind.