Cream together shortening and brown sugar. Beat in egg. Stir in salt, molasses, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and water. Sift together the baking soda and flour. Add to molasses mixture, combine well.
Preheat oven to 325 F. Using a teaspoon, scoop enough dough to roll a walnut-sized ball between your palms. Drop the dough ball into a small cup filled with granulated sugar. Roll the ball to coat with sugar, place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or lightly greased.
Bake for 7-9 minutes until puffed and slightly cracked on top. For chewy cookies, choose the shorter cooking time. Let cool slighly on baking sheet before removing to cooling rack.