Combine the sugar and bourbon, stirring well, in a 1-quart saucepan. Add the cinnamon, ginger, orange zest and juice. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the liquid begins to reduce a little bit, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the cranberries and vanilla bean and continue to simmer until the cranberries are soft and breaking apart and the sauce begins to thicken, 12 to 15 minutes.
If desired, mash your cranberries with a sturdy whisk or potato masher, just to break up the cranberries, and simmer to thicken a little bit more, about 5 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and discard the cinnamon sticks, ginger pieces and vanilla bean. Allow the sauce to cool. Serve the sauce warm or at room temperature, or refrigerate for up to 10 days -- the flavors only get better as they chill out in the fridge.
Recipe courtesy Michael Symon