Brush slow cooker with a small amount of olive oil to prevent sticking.
Lay the onion in the bottom of the slow cooker.
Put the cranberry sauce, chili sauce, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, ginger, chilis (if using), basil, parsley, celery salt and pepper in a medium bowl and stir together well, breaking up the cranberry sauce.
Stir in the bourbon, if using.
Heat some of the oil in a frying pan and brown the short ribs in batches, adding more oil if necessary. You want the short ribs to pick up some colour, so allow about 45 seconds for each side.
As each batch of short ribs is browned, arrange them on top of the onion in the slow cooker.
Pour the sauce mixture over the beef, covering well.
Put the lid on the slow cooker and cook for 6 to 8 hours, depending on your slow cooker.
To serve immediately, remove the short ribs from the slow cooker and keep warm. (I prefer to make these a day or two ahead as the flavours have time to blend and you can remove some of the fat from the recipe.)
Whisk the corn starch and water mixture into the sauce and cook on high until thickened. This will take about 10 minutes.
Serve the sauce over the short ribs.
To make ahead (recommended), remove the short ribs from the slow cooker.
Carefully remove the sauce from the slow cooker, putting it into a large pitcher or bowl using a ladle.
Cool both the short ribs and sauce for about half an hour to 45 minutes, then cover and place in the fridge overnight.
When ready to serve, remove the short ribs and sauce from the fridge.
Place the sauce in a saucepan over medium heat and whisk in the cornstarch mixture.
Allow the sauce to thicken, stirring constantly.
Place the short ribs in a large saucepan and pour the warm sauce over top.
Heat gently over low heat until warm through.
Serve with mashed potatoes, rice or couscous and a green vegetable.