1.Start by making cranberry filling. In a large saucepan, over medium high heat, stir together 24 ounces cranberries, water, 1 cup sugar, cinnamon stick, star anise, and orange zest. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low, and allow mixture to cook, uncovered, until cranberries have popped and mixture has thickened, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
2.To make custard, whisk together remaining 1 cup sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a large, heavy bottomed saucepan. Whisk in milk, vanilla bean, and Trust Whiskey before placing over medium heat and, whisking constantly, letting mixture come to a simmer.
3.In a medium bowl whisk together egg yolks until well combined. Temper eggs by slowly drizzling in 1 cup hot milk mixture while continuously whisking.
4.Pour egg mixture back into saucepan with milk mixture and, with a rubber spatula or whisk, stir constantly over medium heat until thick and just starting to bubble.
5.Remove saucepan from heat and stir in butter until melted and fully incorporated. Transfer custard to a large bowl and press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto surface of custard. Refrigerate to cool completely, about 1 hour.
6.To assemble, break up three donuts and place at the bottom of a trifle bowl and top with half the cranberry filling. Arrange four donuts around inside edge of trifle bowl anchoring them into cranberry filling. Pour half the custard over cranberry layer. Repeat layering with remaining donuts, cranberry filling, and custard.
7.Garnish as desired and serve.
Tip: Cranberry filling and custard can be made up to three days ahead before assembling trifle.