Allspice is a type of berry native to Jamaica and has a similar appearance to whole peppercorns. It has a distinctive taste with both sweet and savoury notes. Allspice is commercially sold in both whole berries or as a ground spice mixture. If you run out of allspice, you can mix together a combination of spices to mimic the complex taste.
A combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, black pepper and cloves closely resembles the sweet, yet spicy taste of allspice. Select a cinnamon stick, a fresh whole piece of nutmeg and fresh whole peppercorns and cloves for the most flavour, especially if your recipe calls for whole allspice berries. Rub the cinnamon stick and nutmeg across a microplane or grater to release the spices. Use a spice grinder, mortar and pestle or food processor to grind the peppercorns and whole cloves.
If your recipe calls for ground allspice, you can use ground cinnamon, nutmeg, black pepper and cloves. Inspect the expiration date on the spices--if they are past their expiration dates (usually within one year of purchase) they might begin to lose their potency, making them too bland to be a sufficient alternative to allspice.
Use equal amounts of each spice and measure them carefully or you risk your allspice alternative being overly sweet or too spicy. For recipes that call for whole allspice berries, keep in mind that five berries is the equivalent to 1 tsp of ground allspice or allspice alternative. If you are using freshly ground cinnamon, nutmeg, black pepper and cloves as an alternative, prepare approximately 1/4 tsp of each. For containers of commercially ground spices, measure out 1/4 tsp of each spice to make a total of 1 tsp. Maintain the same proportions for each additional teaspoon required in a recipe; for example, if your recipe requires 2 tsp of allspice, substitute approximately 1/2 tsp each of cinnamon, nutmeg, black pepper and cloves.
Make only the amount of allspice alternative that you intend to use at one time, if possible, for the freshest tasting and most flavourful results. If you want to use the allspice alternative often, you can make it in a larger batch so you always have some on hand; however, it might be slightly less flavourful than the fresh version. Add 1/4 tsp of each spice into a spice container, glass jar or other airtight container, for every 1 tsp of allspice you want to make. Seal the jar securely and shake it to thoroughly combine the spices. Make sure to write the date onto the jar and use up or discard the spices within six months. After this time, they will have lost most of their flavour. Keep the extra allspice alternative in a dark area away from heat (such as a pantry).