Several days ahead, place the sugar, cranberries, 6 strips of orange zest, and 1 cup of water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 5 minutes, until the cranberries start to pop open. Pour the vodka into a large pitcher, add the cranberry mixture, and store covered in the refrigerator for at least 2 days and up to 5 days.
When ready to serve, strain the vodka mixture, reserving the cranberries and discarding the orange zest. Stir in the cranberry juice cocktail and Triple Sec. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, add the drink mixture, shake for a full 30 seconds (it's longer than you think!), and strain into martini glasses. Rub the rim of each glass with fresh orange zest, spoon a few cranberries into each glass, and serve ice cold.
I use a vegetable peeler to make strips of orange zest. Prepare the entire cocktail mixture and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Shake with ice before serving.