The Cocktail Drum Set was originally developed in the 40's. The earliest versions had a tall, vertically mounted drum with a bass drum pedal set up to strike the drum on it's bottom head for a 'bass drum' sound. The top head would have a snare underneath it for a snare sound. Mounted off of the drum was a cymbal and a set of permanently closed high hats. Because of the height of the drum, these were meant to be played while standing up, using one foot for the bass drum pedal and keeping your weight on the other.
The small size of a cocktail kit and the small size of the drums themselves tend to lend themselves to jazz and other genres where higher pitch drum tunings are the norm. But lately they've been available in sizes that provide more varied tunings and are becoming popular in other genres. Musicians who want to be make a statement and be different are also embracing the cocktail drum set. It does have a certain retro "cool factor" in the right setting.
Look at it this way, as portable as a cocktail drum set is, if the venue you're playing in catches fire, you can run out the door with your entire drum set under one arm.
Later versions can include a small tom or two mounted off the drum. Some have a small separate and mounted to the side and the top of the 'bass drum' can be used as a larger tom. In some more modern versions, the 'bass drum' is shorter and there is a separate snare and/or toms mounted above it. In some cases, the separate bass drum/snare drum set up allows them to be mounted low enough to play sitting down which some drummers prefer.
Cocktail drum don't include a high hat stand, but often have a high hat mount that allows for the high hat cymbals to be mounted in a fixed position.
There is a Tama travel Kit call the Tama Cocktail Jam 4 piece drum set that has a 16" bass drum, 10" and 12" toms, (all single headed), and a snare that can break down into two bags and is highly portable and versatile. It can be set up low enough to play while sitting down which means you could add a high hat stand if you wanted.
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